Happy Planet

Randal Ius and Gregor Robertson

Producer Profile

Producers: Randal Ius and Gregor Robertson

Located in: Vancouver, British Columbia

Supplying PCC since: 2004

Supplies PCC with: Chilled, refreshing all-natural fruit juice and smoothies.

Proud of what's inside: Their juices are crafted from all-natural ingredients minus preservatives, additives, artificial ingredients, and, as Happy Planet puts it, "stuff you can't pronounce."

Wouldn't it be cool if?: Founders Randal Ius and Gregor Robertson launched the company after they pressed organic carrots from Gregor's farm into bottles and decided city folk should have easy access to vibrant, fresh carrot juice as well. Since 1994 they've added many, many other thirst-quenching varieties.

Drink to a happier planet

Good ideas are bound to crop up sitting around an organic farm drinking a glass of fresh organic carrot juice. That's when high-school chums Randal Ius and Gregor Robertson harvested the thought, "This juice is so good! People in the city deserve to have fresh juice this delicious!" So began Happy Planet in 1994, a Vancouver, B.C. company that ships out thousands of fresh juices and smoothies a week.

From the beginning, their goal was to get organic juice in as many people's mouths as possible. At that time, not many consumers were willing to buy a 100-percent organic juice if it was priced 30 to 40 percent more than its conventional juice counterpart, so not all ingredients were organic.

The market for natural and organic foods since has blossomed, however, and Ius and Robertson are proud to offer organic fresh juices and smoothies in their lineup. "It feels like a re-birth to us. It's great to be able to take a company thought to be idealistic and prove that it can be done," said Ius. "It's more work, but it's worth it!"

It's great to be able to take a company thought to be idealistic and prove that it can be done. It's more work, but it's worth it! — Randal Ius, co-founder, Happy Planet

Brimming with idealism, Ius and Robertson also wanted to build a company that was bioregional, drawing all its produce from local organic farms.

Sixty percent of the produce for Happy Planet today is from small-scale organic farms in North America, although no one has figured out how to grow bananas and mangoes in Canada.

From day one, Happy Planet juice has been made in small batches to ensure quality. Sometimes, they even have to make the same juice twice a day. They call this their "micro-juicery" approach. All of their juices are fast pasteurized to ensure safety.

Ius and Robertson like to put the company's money where its mouth is. Many staff members are shareholders in the company. Ten percent of the company profits are given to non-profit organizations such as Provender Alliance, the Organic Trade Association, and the Vancouver Folk-Music Festival.

Over the years, they've also donated more than 1 million bottles of fresh juice to community organizations.

By Alicia Lundquist Guy, Sound Consumer, May 2002. Updated January, 2010

More about: fruit, juice, local food, organic food