One of the hot food and beverage trends of 2013 is that consumers are abandoning colas, and instead seeking “fresh” beverages such as smoothies and fruit-flavored carbonated beverages, according to Baum+Whiteman International Food+Restaurant Consultants.
With words like “cleanse” and “detox” buzzing in the industry, juice and smoothie bars are on the rise – industry market research firm IBISWorld reports that smoothie and juice bars are a $1.8 billion industry.
For the commercial smoothie market, selecting the right blender and juicer is an important part of this process, according to a recent article titled “Blending up Better Beverages” in Food Service Equipment & Supplies magazine. James Camacho, principal of foodservice design firm Camacho Associates explains, “When you’re mixing hearty fruits and vegetables like carrots and kale and apples and mangos, you can’t just buy any old blender.” Many operators look to the high-powdered and/or vortex-based blenders that can quickly — and quietly — emulsify large amounts of produce into creamy, drinkable beverages. These are the same qualities that serious at-home consumers look for as well.
That’s where Vitamix comes in. The company, founded in 1921, was established by William “Papa” Barnard, who originally travelled the country selling modern kitchen products. While helping a friend through an illness, he started connecting the value of whole-food nutrition to health and well-being far before it was trendy. In 1937, Barnard was introduced to a new product – the blender – and he immediately saw the value of blending for quickly and easily prepared healthy and delicious food. He focused his business on this new product with the name “Vita-mix,” because vita means life.
Vitamix has grown to become a leading manufacturer and marketer of superior blending products. Its products are sold directly to the household consumer and the restaurant/hospitality industry, including major commercial accounts such as Starbucks and McDonalds that use Vitamix machines for their blended-drink offerings. Gourmet chefs around the world are also fans, and say their Vitamix machines are even more important to them than their knives. Nearly a century after Papa Barnard started the company, Vitamix remains a privately held, family-run business focused on improving the vitality of people’s lives by helping them eat healthier with whole foods. Vitamix is now recognized as a leader in innovation with over 50 patents and several awards for innovations in blending technology.
So, how does Vitamix engineer what has been ranked as the world’s highest-quality consumer blender? With PTC Creo, of course.
Vice President of Engineering Greg Moores states, “Vitamix is building the company for new growth. We are planning to increase our new product introductions next year. How will we do that? Our annual output of new products is driven by PTC Creo and PTC Windchill.”
“Corporate growth at Vitamix has been 30% to50% over the last five years due to modernization, including marketing, product management and branding,” Moores continues. “The next phase of that growth is to grow the engineering staff and add an in-house Industrial design team to update the product designs and create an iconic brand.”
With initiatives such as accelerating product innovation and continuing to create top-quality premium products with the highest reliability and durability, unsurpassed engineering is a must. At Vitamix, industrial design and engineering processes are streamlined through the use of PTC Creo. It is also used to drive prototypes that enable faster design decision-making. PTC Windchill is used to manage all product and project data in a clean interface with their ERP system.
As a result, Vitamix plans to significantly increase new production introductions and reduce time-to-market by 30%. Improved efficiency and collaboration between the industrial design and engineering teams has already cut design time by 25% while maintaining strict quality targets.
Jack Gee has recently come on board as Vitamix’s Industrial Design Manager and says his initial impression of PTC Creo 2.0 is that it will improve workflow and speed up modeling for his team. Gee’s mission at the company is to develop Vitamix as an iconic brand through improved industrial design. He is using PTC Creo Flexible Modeling Extension to make rapid design changes. Designing complex surfaces is easily done using the Freestyle capability in PTC Creo Parametric. It allows you to skip all the methodology that goes into creating a shape and jump right into focusing on the shape itself, which is proving to be a very designer-friendly tool.
Vitamix takes pride in the excellence of it products, resulting in better flavors, textures, and high-quality performance for its loyal customers. The company knows that it’s engineering and industrial design teams are key to its success, and they rely on PTC Creo to create the world’s most reliable blender.