Juice Plus+ Review: Subscription-based nutritional supplements?
Juice Plus+ operate in the health and nutrition MLM niche and are based out of Tennessee in the US.
The company was founded in 1970 as “National Safety Associates” by Jay Martin.
National Safety Associates started out marketing a range of fire detectors (smoke alarms) and air and water purifiers via door-to-door sales.
Juice Plus+ was introduced in 1993 as a product line and subsidiary of National Safety Associates.
Despite still being a part of NSA, today Juice Plus+ is established well-enough to be recognised as a stand-alone MLM company.
Since a an investigation into reported inventory loading back in 1993, Juice Plus+ hasn’t had a run in with regulators.
In 1990 a proposed class-action lawsuit was filed against NSA, alleging it to be a Ponzi scheme.
More than 100,000 water-purifier sales people, who contend they were bilked out of $5,000 and up apiece by National Safety Associates Inc., will get a chance to prove their charges.
Their lawyers say they were victims of a giant “Ponzi” or pyramid scheme.
Class certification was granted in early 1991, however Juice Plus+ challenged the decision with a reconsideration motion.
The motion was granted and class certification revoked in May.
Within two months the case was confidentially settled.
NSA has been party to a number of civil cases, however nothing recent after 2005.
Read on for a full review of the Juice Plus+ MLM opportunity.
Juice Plus+ Products
Juice Plus+ market their supplements as “the next best thing to fruits and vegetables”.
Juice Plus+ is whole food based nutrition in a capsule and chewable form, containing juice powder concentrates from 30 different fruits, vegetables and grains.
Juice Plus+ helps bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat, and provides the starting point for a healthier way to live.
Juice Plus+ products are all-natural and made from quality ingredients sourced from farm fresh produce, so you can enjoy improved nutrition and wellness.
Specific products featured on the Juice Plus+ website include
- Orchard & Garden Blend Capsules – “provide(s) added whole food based nutrition from 20 different fruits, vegetables, and grains in convenient capsule form”, retails at $178 for a four-month supply (billed at $44.50 monthly)
- Orchard, Garden & Vineyard Blend Capsules – as above but with Vineyard Blend (see below for description), retails at $285 for a four-month supply (billed at $71.25 a month)
- Vineyard Blend Capsules – “provides added nutrition from Concord grapes and a wide variety of berries − including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, bilberries, and elderberries”, retails at $113 for a four-month supply (billed at $28.25 a month)
- Orchard & Garden Blend Chewables – same as the Orchard & Garden Blend capsules but in chewable form, retails at $190 for a four-month supply (billed at $47.50 a month)
- Vineyard Blend Chewables – same as the Vineyard Blend capsules but in chewable form, retails at $123 for a four-month supply (billed at $30.75 a month)
- Complete French Vanilla and Dutch Chocolate – “a whole-food-based beverage mix that provides balanced nutrition in every scoop”, retails at $123 for a four-month supply (billed at $30.75 a month)
- Complete Nutrition Bars (tart cherry & honey or spiced apple & raisin) – “provide balanced nutrition on- the-go”, retails at $130 for four-month supply (billed at $32.50 a month)
- Tower Garden Growing System – a “vertical, aeroponic Tower Garden” that has “everything you need to start growing up to 20 plants now”, retails at $543 ($1707.96 family size) annually (billed at $45.25 a month, $142.33 for family size)
Note that each Juice Plus+ product can either be purchased monthly as above or upfront for a slight discount.
Of additional note, there seems to be a strong connotation between Juice Plus and curing cancer.
This appears to have started after Jim Sears appeared on national television in 2009 and claimed Juice Plus “helps fight cancer”.
Outside of broad nutritional benefit that is obviously beneficial to one’s overall health, there doesn’t appear to be any supporting evidence of Sears’ claim.
In a 2009 published report, the Cancer Network advised
due to its antioxidant effects, Juice Plus may interfere with chemotherapy.
Juice Plus should not be taken during cancer treatment.
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center claims there is “no scientific evidence” to support claims Juice Plus prevents or treats cancer.
Both of these advisories were published in 2009, seemingly in response to “aggressive promotion” of Juice Plus to cancer patients at the time.
For their part Juice Plus don’t seem to push cancer treatment marketing beyond prevention via general nutrition.
Juice Plus affiliates on the other hand…
To the best of my knowledge the FDA hasn’t taken any action against Juice Plus+ for its distributor’s cancer preventative and treatment marketing.
The Juice Plus Compensation Plan
The Juice Plus+ compensation plan combines a five-level deep unilevel team with generational backend.
Additional performance-based bonuses are also available.
Juice Plus+ Affiliate Ranks
There are seven affiliate ranks within the Juice Plus+ compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria they are as follows:
- Independent Representative – sign up as a Juice Plus+ affiliate
- Direct Distributor – accumulate $2000 in GV, $500 of which must be PV in your qualifying month
- Virtual Franchisee – accumulate $6000 GV, $500 of which must be PV in your qualifying month
- Sales Coordinator – accumulate $12,000 GV , $500 of which must be PV in your qualifying month, recruit three Direct Distributor or higher ranked affiliates and maintain monthly Performance Bonus qualification
- Senior Sales Coordinator – earn the Performance Bonus on at least $9000 GV each month (no more than 66% from any one unilevel leg) and recruit and maintain at least three Virtual Franchisee or higher ranked affiliates (one Virtual Franchisee recruitment leg must have a Sales Coordinator, the other two Virtual Franchisees must also qualify for the Performance Bonus)
- Qualifying National Marketing Director – earn the Performance Bonus on at least $20,000 GV each month (no more than 66% from any one unilevel leg) and recruit at least four Virtual Franchisee or higher ranked affiliates (three Virtual Franchisee recruitment legs must have a Sales Coordinator, each of which is Performance Bonus qualified and two of which are also Promote Out Bonus qualified)
- National Marketing Director – earn the Performance Bonus on at least $33,000 GV each month (no more than 66% from any one unilevel leg) and recruit at least five Performance Bonus qualified Virtual Franchisee or higher ranked affiliates (five Virtual Franchisee recruitment legs must have a Sales Coordinator and three of which are also Promote Bonus qualified)
Note that Juice Plus also offer alternative “Fast Track” qualification up to Sales Coordinator.
- Direct Distributor – generate $500 PV within your first thirty days
- Virtual Franchisee – generate $2000 GV within your first sixty days ($500 of which must be PV)
- Sales Coordinator – generate $8000 GV within your first six months, be Performance Bonus qualified and recruit at least three affiliates, two of which must be Virtual Franchisee or higher
PV stands for “Personal Volume” and is sales volume generated by retail sales and an affiliate’s own orders.
GV stands for “Group Volume” and is PV generated by an affiliate and their downline.
Juice Plus+ affiliates are paid to sell products to retail customers.
Base retail commissions on the nutritional products range from $11 (Juice Plus+ chewables children size) to $38 (Orchard, Garden & Vineyard Chewables).
Base retail commissions on the Tower Gardens range from $55 for a single unit to $180 for family size.
The Juice Plus compensation plan suggests the base 6% retail commission rate is only earned once an affiliate has qualified as a Direct Distributor.
Higher ranks equate to higher retail commission rates as follows:
- Virtual Franchisee – 14%
- Sales Coordinator and higher – 22%
MLM Commission Qualification
To qualify for MLM commissions, a Juice Plus+ affiliate must generate at least 90 PV a month.
Performance Bonus (residual commissions)
Juice Plus+ pay residual commissions via a unilevel compensation structure.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
If any level 1 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.
If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
Juice Plus cap payable unilevel levels at five.
How many unilevel team levels an affiliate earns on is determined by specific Performance Bonus qualification criteria:
- generate $1000 GV a month and earn the Performance Bonus down three levels of recruitment
- generate $1000 GV a month and have four unilevel team legs with at least one Performance Bonus qualified affiliate in each and earn the Performance Bonus down four levels of recruitment
- have at least five unilevel team legs with at least one Performance Bonus qualified affiliate in each and earn on up to five levels of recruitment (based on rank)
Performance Bonus commission rates are based on affiliate rank:
- Virtual Franchisee to Senior Sales Coordinator – 5% on up to four unilevel team levels
- Qualifying National Marketing Director and National Marketing Director – 5% on up to five unilevel team levels
The Promote-Out Bonus is a generational bonus that uses the same unilevel compensation structure as residual commissions.
Juice Plus+ define a generation when a Sales Coordinator (first generation) and then Promote-Out Bonus Sales Coordinators (second and third generations) are found in a unilevel leg.
- the first generation in a unilevel leg begins with a personally recruited Sales Coordinator
- the first generation ends when another Sales Coordinator is found deeper in the same unilevel leg, after which the second generation begins
- the second generation ends when a second Promote-Out Bonus qualified Sales Coordinator is found deeper in the same unilevel leg, after which the third generation begins
- the third generation appears to extend down the remainder of the unilevel leg
The Juice Plus+ compensation plan states that if the first Sales Coordinator after the personally recruited one is Promote-Out Bonus qualified, the third generation bonus for that level is forfeited.
Using the generational structure above, the Promote-Out Bonus pays a 4% bonus on GV generated by unilevel team purchases.
There are three ways a Sales Coordinator or higher ranked Juice Plus+ affiliate qualifies for the Promote-Out Bonus:
- generate $3000 GV a month (counted in each unilevel leg until a Sales Coordinator is found in that leg)
- generate $1500 GV a month (counted in each unilevel leg until a Sales Coordinator is found in that leg) and have at least two unilevel team legs with a Promote-Out Bonus qualifies Sales Coordinator or higher ranked affiliate in each
- have at least three unilevel team legs with a Promote-Out Bonus qualified Sales Coordinator or higher ranked affiliate in each
Business Incentive Bonus
The Business Incentive Bonus begins at the Senior Sales Coordinator rank.
- Senior Sales Coordinators and Qualifying National Marketing Directors earn a 20% Business Incentive Bonus
- National Marketing Directors earn “20% + benefits”
As to what the Business Incentive Bonus is, here’s all Juice Plus+ state in their compensation plan:
(The) Business Incentive Bonus … equal to 5% – 20% of your monthly earnings, subject to Team Structure, based on working legs, a minimum earnings requirement and a maximum bonus amount.
No specifics are provided.
Joining Juice Plus+
Juice Plus+ affiliate membership is $50.
When I saw the Juice Plus+ compensation plan was only four pages long I gave a sigh of relief.
Due to years of additions and revisions, it is common for compensation plans of established MLM companies to be overly complex nightmares.
To their credit Juice Plus+’s compensation avoids this pitfall and is pretty straightforward – but it does have its quirks.
Before we get into that, Juice Plus+’s product range.
The biggest problem I see with marketing Juice Plus+ products to retail customers is the mandatory four to twelve month subscriptions.
These can either be paid upfront or monthly (costs more), but what if I just want to try out the products?
Juice Plus+ do offer a 14 day change-of-mind policy;
Juice PLUS+ grants consumers the statutory right of revocation within a period of 14 days starting with the delivery of products.
If a customer returns products to the Franchise Partner due to the information about his right of revocation, the Franchise Partner on his part shall be entitled to return these products to Juice PLUS+.
But I’d assume that only covers unopened, unused products. If I put in an order and decide after a few weeks Juice Plus+’s products aren’t for me (or I want to try something else), as a retail customer I’m still locked into a four-month minimum subscription.
Locking in four-month subscriptions is pretty anti-consumer and definitely hurts the retail potential for affiliates.
Instead the subscriptions feel more like they were designed for affiliates looking to pay a monthly fee.
This is dangerous territory, as at the expense of retail we would be heading towards affiliate purchases as the primary source of company-wide revenue.
To their credit Juice Plus+ charge $50 to sign up and, at least as far as I could see, there was no required purchase.
That said once your signed up there are “Shred10 Packages” affiliates can sign up for, which are clearly presented as recurring monthly subscriptions.
Curiously there’s nothing about the packages on the Juice Plus+ website, so this appears to be entirely aimed at affiliates.
With respect to Juice Plus+’s products, having been marketed since 1993 there’s the benefit of demonstrated value – to a point.
Beyond the benefits of general nutrition, I’d be taking any claims with respect to Juice Plus+ products healing, treating or curing cancer with warranted scepticism.
At least until someone does a proper study that definitely links Juice Plus+ (not its ingredients in general) with what are otherwise unverified medical claims.
To be honest, given the pervasive nature of the cancer claims (on national television no less), I’m pretty surprised the FDA or FTC haven’t stepped in.
Maybe they did quietly, which is why Juice Plus+ themselves don’t make any specific claims, who knows.
At the very least though the company has a responsibility to internally police its affiliate’s marketing claims, which they don’t appear to be doing.
The compensation plan itself is pretty straightforward, offering five-level deep unilevel residuals plus generations.
Qualification isn’t set too high, with minimum PV required before residuals are paid out.
Ideally this PV would be retail but there’s nothing stopping an affiliate spending big to qualify.
$500 personal PV is required to qualify as a Virtual Franchisee, why not break that down into at least $300 PV of verified retail sales volume?
The only other thing that stood out was the Promote-Out Bonus only paying on downline purchases. Why is retail excluded here?
By tying a commission directly to affiliate purchases an incentive to pressure downlines to purchase products is introduced, which ties into the minimum monthly PV.
As a prospective Juice Plus affiliate you definitely want to verify your potential upline is making at least $90 PV in retail sales each month.
Anything less and they might be self-funding their monthly requirement. Worse still they’ll probably expect you to do the same, regardless of whether you’re making retail sales or not.
All in all there’s a lot to like about the Juice Plus opportunity, bar some likely long-standing quirks that need to be addressed.
The Tower Garden product caught my eye and, assuming it delivers what is promised, is certainly a differentiating offering against competing nutrition based MLM companies.
$50 isn’t much to test the waters, and if you can wrangle a product sample before signing up all the better.