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The MonaVie Acai Berry Super Fruit Juice - Mona Vie Scam?

Published 12/30/08 (Modified 3/8/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Review of MonaVie and The Acai Berry Fruit Juice Company's Health and Marketing Claims

MonaVie. Mona Vie. The word actually sounds like a spin off of some french phrase (mon ami), but when I hear the name, two things immediately come to mind - acai berry juice and multi level marketing pyramid scheme. The MLM business scheme or pyramid marketing concept usually elicits a series of red alert alarm bells in my brain's BS scam detector, however, I'm willing to take a closer look at MonaVie before rendering my personal critique and verdict. After having tried out and actually tasted the MonaVie acai berry fruit drink, I have to admit, it's a rather sweet and tasty beverage - sort of a crisp combination of grape juice, blue berries, black berries, and a hint of dark chocolate. There's not much negative commentary I can sling at the MonaVie product in terms of taste alone, but the outrageously expensive price tag and the rather suspicious marketing approach of the company leave much to be desired.

As an ordinary American consumer and a casual observer, I'm not sure what to make of this whole MonaVie acai berry fruit juice craze that seems to be sweeping the health and fitness world. The product's been featured on the Food Network and on daytime talk shows for women like the Rachel Ray show, and eagerly touted by popular television hosts like Oprah Winfrey as the ultimate nectar of the gods. At least several medical commentators have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show recently to promote the acai berry as an invaluable source of super food nutrients and as a magical method to promote youth and bodily rejuvenation. While most of the on-air health commentators were on the Oprah show to promote their individual books, even Oprah herself seemed to jump on the acai berry bandwagon, endorsing the nutritional claims of the tiny purple berry in her own boisterous way.

And it's not just celebrity women either (who in my sexist opinion tend to be very ultra health conscious). Even celebrity guys seem to be getting in on the acai super fruit craze as well. There are numerous photos floating around on the internet of well known celebrities (both male and female) photographed with���� their MonaVie acai juice bottles. I've seen hip hop stars and motor sport athletes on MTV's Cribs show opening up their refrigerator doors for the camera to proudly display their prized rows of ultra-expensive MonaVie branded acai juice bottles. To top it off, when the Boston Red Sox won the Major League Baseball World Series in 2007, you even had several pitchers and players publicly thanking the Mona Vie company and attributing their athletic success to the seemingly magical healing powers of the MonaVie acai berry drink. When professional athletes who have just won the most competitive pinnacle award of their profession celebrate their triumph by giving a ringing endorsement of a particular enhancement product, citing the competitive advantages it allegedly provided their bodies through the grueling eight month long baseball season, I definitely take notice. However at the same time, my curiosity is greatly tempered with a strong dose of skepticism and suspicion at the celebrity's personal motivations for such a resounding product recommendation - and I find myself wondering if the celebrity was partly motivated by financial considerations.

Without a doubt, MonaVie is a popular and highly promoted superfruit juice product, frequently mentioned in popular entertainment and athletic circles among the rich and trendy. It also has a strong growing presence online and on TV, but then again, so do many of the numerous get rich quick schemes and snake oil scams out there, featuring all types of facial cleaning products and useless weight loss shakes and pills. All such popular products have their own legion of compensated celebrities ready to help make the sales pitch and enthusiastically promote the product to the audience. Just because a product is heavily marketed and seems popular does not make it legit. Thus I wanted to take a more objective look into the MonaVie product itself, its health claims, and its marketing approach to decipher for myself the legitimacy of the brand. My primary goal is to answer these series of questions - Is MonaVie a scam? Does MonaVie acai juice berry drinks actually provide the health benefits re-soundly touted by its army of rabid distributors? And finally, is MonaVie a product I would actually purchase and consume for myself as an average, everyday mildly health conscious consumer?

The MonaVie Acai Berry Juice Product

MonaVie is a fruit juice drink made up of a blend of 19 different fruits. In a nut shell, it's like Odwalla or Naked branded smoothie drinks - except the drink is marketed as an acai berry product and it comes in a fancy looking wine bottle to give it allure. While the company refuses to disclose the actual numbers detailing individual juice makeup, it eagerly markets the fruit juice cocktail as some type of specially formulated super fruit juice, citing its composition of acai berries for its supposed magical ability to cure all sorts of physical and mental ailments. While the company does not expressly state that the MonaVie acai berry juice drink is capable of amazing healing properties, that is the marketing direction the company seems to strongly hint at. Obviously due to legality reasons, MonaVie can't officially claim its juice drink to be a health elixir, but it sure seems like it unofficially wants to based on the promotional dance it's constantly engaging in.

Inside of its fruit juice drinks, MonaVie lists as one of its primary ingredients - the acai berry (pronounced ah-sai-ee) - a small purple black fruit about an inch in size and produced from the acai palm tree in the Amazon of Brazil. Through its network of distributors, the MonaVie company promotes the message that its unique acai berry juice blend contains many of the antioxidant related health benefits associated with the acai berry and other special fruits. Supposedly, these super fruits are packed with powerful nutrients and antioxidant compounds that uniquely protect the body's cells from damage and disease, boost the immune system, and slow down the otherwise inevitable process of aging. However, much of the alleged health benefits of MonaVie and the extent of the nutritional value of acai have been called into constant debate and frequently questioned by naysayers that cast suspicion at what exactly is contained in MonaVie and the extent of its alleged nutritional value if any. Certainly, the company's reluctance to share detailed information about the specific acai berry concentration found in its bottles and its mysterious refusal to reveal detailed proportional make up of how the���� fruit juices in the MonaVie blend are made up continue to fuel discussions abut the health claims made by the product's distributors.

Monavie Acai Is Sold Exclusively Via A Questionable Multi Level Direct Sales Approach (AKA Pyramid Scheme)

Mona Vie acai juice drinks are not available in traditional supermarket chains or grocery stores like Safeway, Kroger, or Wegmans, and they're not even available via specialty health minded retailers like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. You definitely won't find the company's products at discounters like Walmart or Costco - no, the MonaVie company shuns the traditional sales outlets in favor of a more personalized and almost cult like marketing approach.

MonaVie was launched in January 2005 by a long time direct sales marketing veteran and since then, the company has relied exclusively on a multi level marketing strategy to promote and sell its expensive juice drinks. For all intents and purposes, the company's more of a powerful marketing machine than a health food provider. Certainly there may be substantially better fruit juice products out there at much cheaper prices, but frankly, and somewhat commendably, MonaVie does a pretty powerful job of hyping and cleverly convincing health fanatics that they absolutely must drink this product everyday to live their lives to the fullest.

By tapping into a sales stream that takes advantage of trusted personal relationships to generate sales, the company has become wildly successful - at least on the sales side. Those unfamiliar with multi level marketing (MLM) may be more familiar with its common nickname - the pyramid scheme. A MLM or pyramid scheme relies on a direct sales technique based on a relationship referral business model whereby trusted people are the engine components that drive the commission based sales. Whenever a sale is made, a lofty commission is paid out, not only to you (the person who made the sale), but also to the person who referred you into the marketing program as well as to the person who referred your direct referrer - hence the pyramid nature of the arrangement. Because these multi level marketing programs are so potentially lucrative for those at the top of the pyramid (the upline), the system strongly encourages and incentivizes participants to zealously promote the product and heavily recruit new entrants into the program (the downline) to further earn sales and commissions for those on the up line.

Now, the one thing that must be made clear is that not all multi level marketing programs or pyramid schemes are inherently evil or illegal. Not all pyramid schemes are blatant scams or disreputable shell games the same way that Ponzi Schemes are. In fact, there are many otherwise thinly legitimate multi level marketing programs out there such as Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, Herbalife, Tupperware, and all sorts of online affiliate programs. However, many of these MLM based companies suffer from the same stigma and questionable scrutiny that MonaVie faces as well. While not outright frauds or scams like the way Nigerian 419 scams are for example, the same scammy concerns arise because many of these MLM programs really only benefit those at the top of the marketing pyramid and often encourage overzealous sales techniques that frequently lead to almost predatory recruiting tactics and pitches. Oftentimes as well, many of these MLM programs demand contractually obligated sales quotas that members must satisfy every month or face having to purchase the products themselves to meet the sales quota requirement. In the case of MonaVie's contractually obligated arrangement for wannabe new distributors into the program, new entrants are obligated to buy at least 4 bottles a month of the pricey acai berry juice. They don't come cheap and failure to sell enough bottles every month will require that the distributor contractually purchase the required quota for personal use.

As noted by an investigative news article from Newsweek, according to income disclosures, most of the million strong sales team of MonaVie appear to be really just drinking the juice themselves rather than selling them as originally intended. More than 90% of supposed distributors of MonaVie are actually considered wholesale customers, whose earnings were mostly discounts on sales to themselves. Remarkably according to the article, fewer than 1% of the MonaVie marketing pyramid's sales people qualified for commissions and of those, only 10% made more than $100 a week. The Newsweek article even goes on to state that according to a top MonaVie recruiter, while obviously not disclosed by the company, the MonaVie multi level marketing program's drop out rate's around 70%. It's certainly a fascinating tidbit to keep in mind as you ponder the question of whether MonaVie's a scam. While I personally don't think MonaVie is a scam as they do offer an otherwise legitimate fruit juice product, the acai juice company sure has rather unsavory fringe elements to it.

In regards to the secret world of direct sales and pyramid marketing, I had my first negative exposure to MLM programs when I was recruited by a company called Vector Marketing to sell Cutco branded knives back when I was just an 18 year old high school student. For some odd reason, many fellow high school students such as myself were targeted with elaborate marketing sales pitches by Vector Marketing recruiters to become trained in the art of tapping personal relationships to sell ridiculously and insanely overpriced Cutco steak knives to our friends and family members. Obviously, our recruiters were eager to train us into becoming their commission earning downline so that they could profit from our sales as our upline referrals. While the Cutco knives we lugged around and sold were of obvious high quality, they were no where even close to being worth the exorbitant price demanded of each individual cutlery. Quality is one thing, but they were and to this very day, are still vastly overpriced. While I was able to tap into my personal relationships and beg a few neighbors to shell out hundreds of dollars for a few knives out of pity, I remember always feeling extremely scammy and sleazy during my rehearsed sales pitches to supposed loved ones. As a mere 18 year old at the time, I wasn't too fond of���� having to take advantage of my close relationships for financial gain. There was nothing illegal or deliberately evil about the whole sales system, but the whole multi level marketing approach simply felt shady and rather manipulative to me.

Mova Vie Is Extremely Expensive and Overpriced Despite Its Alleged Acai Berry Health Properties

The MonaVie acai berry juice product is not cheap. In fact it's downright expensive - ridiculously overpriced at astronomically rip off levels if you ask me. A single MonaVie juice bottle will cost you $30-$40 per bottle, for a little more than 25 fluid ounces of the fruit berry mixture. According to the promotional material, to fully appreciate the nutritional benefits of acai berry juicing, you're supposed to drink at least 2 fluid ounces of the purple stuff in the morning, and another 1 ounce at night. At the rate suggested by the MonaVie company, a single bottle will last you about a week. At $30-40 a bottle, that comes out to $120-$160 a month, and $1,440-$1,920 a year. Unless you are swimming in money and flush with dollars like the professional athletes or financially well off���� like celebrities Oprah Winfrey or Rachel Ray, chances are, you're going to find regular consumption of this product to be well beyond your financial means. The lucrative price of each expensive bottle of Mona Vie can probably be traced back to the high cost of commission maintenance that must be paid out to the entire pyramid marketing chain upon each sale.

Because of the multi level marketing nature and aggressive direct sales promotional tactics of MonaVie distributors, a wide array of ridiculous health and nutritional claims seem to have blanketed the internet. Sometimes it's a little difficult figuring out which writer is trustworthy and which one is blatantly a sales guy. I have personal gut-feeling suspicions that sizable portions of these favorable web-based health comments and supposed online testimonials were made by MonaVie distributors and financially interested sales promoters trying to hype up the appeal of their pricey cash cow via fake product reviews. A quick browse of the internet quickly reveals all sorts of outlandish testimonies and anecdotal stories by random people - claims of how MonaVie acai juice drinking cured their heart disease, healed their arthritis, alleviated stress and depression, cured their acne, reversed their aging, repaired joint damage, got rid of joint and back pain, cured their cancer, treated their diabetes, made them more energetic, and even improved their sex life. The craziest claim I've seen was some gentlemen who claimed that his steady diet of Mona Vie acai berry juice made his special male anatomy organ larger and more virile. I've even read a few ridiculous claims by anonymous female commentators on various Mona Vie related blog posts touting how acai berry juicing grew their chests and helped make their breasts larger. The myriad of outlandish and totally unsubstantiated claims are quite abundantly available online - an unfortunate side effect that distorts the truth, whenever there is a lot of sales money to be had.

Now it's one thing for a product to be expensive and it's a whole different matter altogether if the product doesn't actually do what it says it is supposed to do. The literature and research on the amazing health benefits of drinking MonaVie and the supposed God-like healing properties of acai berry juice are still not entirely definitive. While there is little doubt that berries and fruits such as acai, blue berries, blackberries, and pomegranates common loads of nutritional vitamins and powerful compounds such as cell repairing antioxidants, the research is not yet entirely supportive that these are indeed super fruits that can cure all and heal all. There is scientific evidence that the acai fruit and other dark berries are uniquely high in Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC), a rating system that evaluates a food product's ability to fight harmful free radicals in the body, but that doesn't mean that a single fruit can potentially replace all other alternative sources of vital nutrients.

To be fair, the MonaVie company doesn't actually go out of its way to blatantly promote the MonaVie product as a magical berry elixir anymore. MonaVie does not actually make the health and nutritional claims itself. Due to stricter federal scrutiny of Mona Vie's official claims, the company has drastically cut back on its previous assertions of health benefits and healing properties. The company is now content with marketing the MonaVie drink as merely a high end fruit juice product, letting its legion of cult like Mona Vie acai berry drinkers and promoters hype the unbelievable health benefit innuendos on their own. After all, the motto of the MonaVie company is - "Drink It, Feel It, Share It" - which sounds more like a sales focused marketing directive of sorts to me.

Acai Berries Do Contain Lots Of Nutrients - They Just Don't Have Super Healing Powers As Suggested By Some Independent MonaVie Distributors

As a mild defense for the key heralded component of MonaVie's juice product - the acai berry does indeed contain abundant nutritional value. There is quite a bit of research touting the health benefits of acai berry as a good source of fiber, minerals, vitamins, polyphenols, and antioxidants for healthy bodily performance. The expensive acai fruit does indeed contain a wealth of nutritional benefits compressed into each little purple berry, but then again, much of the same health benefits can easily be found in large concentrations in other more common and cheaper fruits such as bananas, blue berries, and apples as well.

Despite my admitted fondness for the taste of acai, I'm extremely wary of buying into the whole MonaVie acai juice product because I simply do not know how much of acai can be found in each bottle. Because MonaVie refuses to disclose the actual composition of its juice drinks, we do not know for certain the exact breakdown of its juice cocktail and the exact amount of expensive acai berry concentrate in the blend. It's very important to keep in mind that the MonaVie juice mixture doesn't contain acai berries exclusively. It's comprised of an admitted blend of 19 fruits - including many common and cheap fruits like bananas and apples, easily found in your neighborhood grocery store. If you really buy into the claimed health benefits of juicing and nutritional potency of acai berries, there are much easier and cheaper ways to get your purple berry fix. Most grocery stores sell acai berry juice variations and even certain online stores sell similar acai berry laden juice drinks, acai powders, and acai capsules for much, much less.

The fact of the matter is that people are always looking for the easy way out and frequently are all too eager for a magic potion that will make take away the need to put in effort. There is plenty of research touting the overwhelming health benefits of a low fat, low sugar diet comprised of lots of fish and whole grain foods. There is also overwhelming evidence that smoking and excessive alcohol drinking wrecks havoc on physical and mental health, and that daily consistent exercise is absolutely essential to healthy living. Yet, we as humans seem to ignore those simple practices and remain perpetually enamored with the possibility that there are super fruits out there that can serve as magic silver bullets to our health problems and ailments. The reality is that there is no such thing as a one size fits all super fruit. Proper health and nutrition requires a good moderated balance of fruits, vegetables, and proper exercise - not the services of a single food product - especially not one that is so expensively priced.

How To Buy MonaVie Online And Test Out Acai Berry Juices For Yourself (Remember, It's Not Cheap and Its Health Claims Are Not Fully Substantiated Yet)

Recently, I purchased a few bottles of MonaVie online simply to test out and review the juice product for myself since I didn't know how else to try it out for free. While I have no intention of actually signing up as a distributor or getting myself locked into some multi level marketing contract, I think it's perfectly understandable if there are people out there who remain curious about the fruit juice blend. It's admittedly rather tasty, albeit extremely expensive and somewhat overrated. Personally, I don't buy the magical juice berry claims of the MonaVie supporters and chose to consume the drink on a one time limited basis as I would any new drink. If you really want to start juicing, buy a fruit juicer for yourself or buy pre-made fruit smoothies from the grocery store. Many of these pre-made blends contain acai berry and they're a much cheaper way to get exposed to the nutritional value of acai should you so choose to partake. If you really insist on joining the MonaVie acai berry craze, there are plenty of equally good generic acai berry brands out there as well - in various just-add-water powder products and pills.

In the event you are determined to test out MonaVie acai berry drinks or similar acai berry products based on curiosity, here are a few ways to buy them online. Remember, it's not an endorsement, and I'm just pointing the way for you if you insist:

  1. MonaVie Active Health Juice With Acai (Amazon) - 1 Bottle of the dark purple stuff.
  2. MonaVie Active Juice Bottles With Acai (Amazon) - 4 bottles - A way to buy MonaVie online without having to agree to some recurring sales contract.
  3. MonaVie Juice Bottles With Acai (eBay) - Cheapest method to buy MonaVie online without commiting to a distributorship agreement, but requires eBay auction bidding.
  4. Natrol - Acai Berries 1000mg Per Serving 60 Capsules (Amazon) - 60 capsules
  5. Organic Acai Fruit Capsules with Camu Camu (Amazon) - 60 capsules - The Brazilian acai berry in pill form.
  6. 100% Pure Acai Fruit Powder with Camu Camu (Amazon) - 90 grams - Just add water to make an acai powder juice drink.

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329 Responses to “The MonaVie Acai Berry Super Fruit Juice - Mona Vie Scam?” 

  1. Jason says:

    Z: Just so I understand you think what Schauss and AIBMR produced was a Gold Standard Clinical Study? You've got to be kidding right?

    There have been good studies done on the benefits of Acai. They don't relate to Moneyvie in any way. As Jay pointed out earlier one of the doctors involved in a reputable study on Acai has publicly outed Monavie for piggy backing on his research and posturing like he was talking about their over hyped fruit punch.

  2. Scott says:

    Like I said before, I don't dought that this stuff does have some benefits, but the bottom line is the price, and the benefits you get aren't worth it. It just seems that it prays on the gullible and neive people who buy into the hype. There are poeple who have life threatening serious illnesess who will spend their life savings for a cure. I don't blame them for wanting to try something, but give them somehting that works. And there are the people who will actually get well, but not from the product alone. If you believe something is so powerfull that it will cure diseases, your mind can take over and you can be cured, but its your mind not the product. And no I haven't done as much research as some others, but I dont' think I need to. This product sounds a lot like a product that was sold a few years ago called Mannatech, their sales peopls also made life changes claims. Since we have a severly disabled child, we thought we would give it a try. All it did, was cost us a tone of money, with zero results. It was marketed the same way as Monovie. This is why I am very skeptical. I would have to see blind studies over a long period of time, by a reputable source before I would buy into this.

  3. z says:

    Jay - Firstly I am not sure that it is the study that you reference that I refer to, since I cannot access the site you referenced..

    Jay & Jason - All studies start with small groups. And I agree much more research needs to be done. What I am trying to point out to you is that your comments (Jay) are too flavored by your cynacism and made without scientific basis. If I make a statement I attempt to back it up with relevant studies and data models. When I did I was accused of being a scripted sales person. More close minded cynicism. As far as the product being sold by misleading people, I think that any business has those problems with people over stepping the bounds of reality, which is probably where the problems came with distributors referencing the acai study that Jason refers too. As far as the 'gold standard' is concerned, 'double blind, cross-overs' are the gold standard of clinical studies.

    Scott - I am sorry to hear about your child, and I do understand that lots of companies (MLM and more traditional businesses) have lots of people making all sorts of claims. As I have said previously I have nothing to sell you, so I have no agenda to push. I am someone who wants the truth on the table. You have made reference to the cost of product that produced zero results. If it produces no results the it is not worth the cost. I have never used that product range you reference, but I know some people who swear by it. I know others who swear at it. On the other hand if that product had produced results for your child then the story ends differently. In your shoes I leave no stone unturned to help my family. I wish you God's grace and good fortune on your journey.

    I think it is important to consider that the cost of sickness and disease far outweighs the costs that we spend looking for a better quality of life. If I found something that cost a lot but benefited people I loved I would find some way to get it. Wouldn't we all?

    I agree that it is very wrong for people to claim that Monavie or any other product is a cure all. It doesn't cure anything. (No one knows for sure what is happening inside the cells at any given moment) I know several people who have tried Monavie with considerable benefits. Equally I know several people who used Monavie and didn't notice anything. (No it wasn't me who sold them the product). Those who receive benefit are still drinking the juice, and those who didn't don't. The reality is that some people's wild claims do not nullify that many people receive benefit from properly designed nutritional products.

    In a perfect world no one needs dietary supplementations. Nor would they need medication. Unfortunately we live far from that ideal. I could reiterate the research that I highlighted previously, but I would be accused by many of being a salesman, even though I did this research over a 25 year period. I think that Monavie has been around 4 years, so my efforts predate them by over 20 years. One of the interesting subjects that has gained my attention over the years is the supplementation industry for animals, and the research they have produced. Farmers are spending enormous amounts on mineral supplementation for herds and crops today that previously was not available. There is a reason they do this.

    I continue live with the principle that the man with the theory is always at the mercy of the man with the experience. I hear what others say, but I will always do my own research. I accept responsibility for my own decisions. That way if I get it wrong, I have myself to blame, but if I get it right, I can throw a BBQ in my honor. We have lots of BBQ's at my house. :-)

    Z

  4. Msdrema says:

    I have been reading all these comments, and although I do think there is substance to both the product and the sales plan, I do believe it is just a fad that will lose interest...anybody remember Tahitian Noni juice?

  5. Paul Boon says:

    The theme for Monavie is "Drink it, Taste it, Share it" is to prove to those who have tasted this juice. What I know is that MonaVie does not claim that it can heal but due to its ingredients that gives anti-oxidant to the body that eventually it helps to remove sickness, problems from the body.
    About the question on MLM (directr selling), what I understand is that they want to have personal touch with their customers rather than selling from the shelf. As for distributors, as long as they make money, big or small, it is a business to them.
    It all depends on individual. I can't comment more on this.

  6. Jay says:

    Paul it doesn't provide significant antioxidants. Grape juice has a superior level of antioxidants. Most distributors (over 90%) make less than minimum wage for their efforts and that's before product costs and other expenses. If it's a business to them it's a miserable one.

  7. Jay says:

    And the motto is Drink it, FEEL IT, Share it. I would never get involved in this obvious scam but even I know that. If all they sold it on was a claim that it tastes good people would have fewer issues with the company.

  8. Corey says:

    Well, I am in week three of this, and sleeping better, and feeling better. I have stopped my vyvanse prescription because my concentration is better as my wife has stopped her wellbutrin because she is better. Doesnt seem like a scam to me. We have now gotten her parents on it as well, and within about a week, they are sleeping better as well, and her mom, who has extreme pain in her ankles, has noticed that it has been severely lessened. Going to their conference in St Louis this past weekend, I met tons of people who are really enjoying the benefits they are gaining from it. I would like to see your proof that grape juice has a superior amount of antioxidants, and that Monavie doesnt provide significant ones. Dr. Schauss has spent 15 years studying this berry and its effects.

    To me it seems you are sore that people are not having to rely on drugs to fix their problems, but are actually feeling better as a result of a drink. A lot of research has went into this, and I am pretty impressed from my own testimony. Its helping my family, so as far as I am concerned, this is great stuff.

    As far as this being miserable, what better way to feel great then to help people out? They are doing just that. Im hooked for life!

  9. Jason says:

    Hooked for life huh? Well I wouldn't get too hooked because this scam will be shut down shortly just like Larsen's last scam. I give them a year or so before they are forced to put their stock of this junk in a landfill just like Dynamic Essentials Royal Tongan Limu. This is the exact same scam.

    You want to see proof? Read Schauss's own study since you trust him. I don't trust anything from him but we'll use his numbers. He found that Monavie has an ORAC score of 22.81 units per ml, which translates to 1293 ORAC units. Remember this is the data put out there by Monavie and AIBMR (Men's Journal and others have shown the product to not even rate this high see Jay's post on 1/28). Sound good to you? Well according to the USDA 100g of raw blueberries provide 6552 ORAC units. That's not even a single serving (148g). So Monavie is the ORAC equivalent of roughly 14 blueberries according to Monavie's own data. Those blueberries would cost you about a quarter but they aren't sold with a boat load of hype and false medical claims.

  10. Susan Blackwell says:

    I enjoyed your article about Mona Vie. My husband drinks it (for about a year now) and he is no longer taking his blood pressure medicine. Now whether that is a coincidence or not, I don't know. I do not use it. It is expensive. Lately we have thought of trying the sales side. I am undecided, so I am reading articles such as yours. One question: Mona Vie claims that their processing of the acai berry is unlike no one elses, that their processes freeze dries the WHOLE berry, I believe is how they put it. I don't know if you answer individual emails, but do you know anything about this? Did you come across this in your research. Thank you, Susan

  11. Jay says:

    Hi Susan,

    Nothing special about the Acai processing. They filed for a patent on this process in 2003 and it was rejected in 2005. 40 claims were made in the patent application and 26 of the claims were thoroughly rejected. Claims 10-20 and 30-40 were related to medical and disease treatment claims, completely ridiculous, and were rejected outright. Claims 1-3 and 21-23 were found to not be original and were also rejected. The remaining claims did not merit consideration for a patent. Since 05 they have not submitted a revised application so they do not have a patented process and it would be deceptive for anyone to even claim that they have a patent pending.

  12. Brian says:

    Jay,

    Where did you get the information about the patent? I have been approached to sell this product and the presenter says more than once that they have a patent on the Acai processing. I would just like to see some facts to prove them wrong. I've been around the block and I am skeptical of MLM programs. No one I know has ever made money. In fact, they usually end up ruining relationships! Anyways, would love to see a link to a document. Let me know.
    Thanks

  13. z says:

    Not sure where you got your information from Jay , but the a quick examinaton of the PCT shows that there is a patent application in existence. Application # 2004224346 in Australia is current, and in process according to IP Australia. There is no opposition to the patent and notations show that the patent is in existence until 22 March 2024.

    As usual this commentary section is very subjective and without definitive proof of statements. Monavie's claims about the processing of the acai are accurate and can be substantiated. Why not contact the company and see what they say. If as people say here 'they are lying' then you can send the information to the FTC and the FDA and they will be history.

    Like Brian I am very skeptical of MLM's, but every so often a product comes along that seems to have merit. Fortunately we live in a reasonably free society that allows us to make individual choices. Some people choose to do business with Monavie and believe they are getting a great deal. Some people don't. More power to all of them.

    z

  14. Jay says:

    (view link)

    Everything I stated was true as far as the patent process in the US. I have no knowledge of a pending patent in Australia or why a US based company would file for a patent in Australia. Perhaps because they couldn't get one here? I don't know. Perhaps Australia patents are easier to attain? I don't know. But the fact remains that their patent in the US was summarily rejected because it was baseless. And the fact also remains that distributors have been making the false claim that Monavie holds a patent on their Acai processing since the product first hit the market.

    Not that it really matters if their process is patented. The fact is that Monavie's own data shows the product to have a low level of antioxidants, low level of vitamins, and a negligible amounts of minerals. With these facts in hand it would seem that the patent claim is nothing more than a marketing gimmick. "No one else can do it like we do it." Well why would they want to when a juice with negligible value is the end result?

  15. Jay says:

    Should have had my coffee before responding. Just so we are clear WIPO sets the bar when it comes to intellectual property and they have rejected Monavie's claims. I don't know about Austraila's patent process and meant no offense by insuating they may have lower standards.

  16. Corey says:

    What intrigues me is the people that bash it because they do not post the "percentage" makeup of the ingredients. My question is, does Colonel Sanders post his breading makeup percentages? Does any other company for that fact post their percentages? No. How labels work, is that they are listed in order from greatest to smallest. On the monavie bottle, it lists the acai berry as the first ingredient, hence, it is the greatest amount in it. With a total of 19 different fruits (100% divided by 19 items, gives us 5.26%), it would have to have a greater than 5.26% presence in the blend. I seriously doubt that it would even be this low of a percentage, as they would have to have extremely sophisticated control systems in place to maintain a percentage amount that accurate.

  17. Jay says:

    You're right Corey and I for one have no problem with them keeping their formula a secret. The exact makeup is Monavie's business and I wouldn't expect them to divulge their exact recipe much like I wouldn't expect Coca Cola to divulge theirs. Since Acai is such a hot fad at the moment it would serve them well to be able to tout a high percentage in their marketing material. They could do so without worrying about risking their formula but I don't really care that they don't. I do however have a problem with distributors making claims that it's mostly Acai, 30% Acai, 50% Acai, and so on because none of them actually know. And like you said the fact is that it could be as low as 5.26%.

    Your point about percentages works the other way too. With 19 fruits I think one can safely assume that some of the other 18 make up a significant percentage of the formula or why include them in the first place. I too doubt that the percentage is as low as 5.26% but I also doubt that it's very high. I'm not sure I follow your logic on the control system as that would be necessary regardless of the percentage breakdowns.

  18. Crystal says:

    I am amazed at the negativity. Jay I am curious about your obvious distain for Mona vie? My father has been a mona vie distributor for 3 months and makes more than I do at my well paying full time job. He even makes more than the guy who signed him up, I know because he is my cousin. My father hasn't allienated his friends , he just shares and lets people decide for themselves . He is not pushy or dishonest, just excited. Our family and friends are very excited about mona vie. Some have been drinking it for over a year. There has been a very wide range of benefits. It is all about good nutrtion. When your body gets what it needs amazing things can happen. As for you "snake oil" refrences..... The method of marketing is upsetting to you? Personally I have a hard time with the sales pitches I have seen on TV. Do you really think it costs Pepsi $1.49 to produce a 24 oz bottle of pop? Of course not but they spend millions of dollars a year on flashy commercials to convince people they want to buy a producct they can make people oveweight and destroy there health just to line the pockets of the CEOs. From what I understand Mona vie puts 50 percent of there profits back into their distributors. That is how they advertise. As you say 90 percent of the distributors do not make any money. They don't choose to. They just drink the product because it works for them. It has actually saved my family money on what it has replaced. It is very upsetting to me to read your coments on how distributors are dishonest and praying on other peoples misfortune. My fater is a very good man. He is generous'hardworking and kind. Not a man that would ever take from people for personal gain. We have seen worderful things happen in our lives and the lives of others due to Mona vie .

  19. Jay says:

    No disdain or negativity Crystal; just facts. If your father is making money then he is one of the lucky 3% who make more than minimum wage for their efforts. The bottom aren't making money because they don't chose to, they aren't making money because the model is setup that way. As far as 50% going back to distributors I don't doubt that this is the case. But 65% of that 50% goes to less than 1% of the distributors, just a fact shown by Monavie's IDS.

    My motivation for disliking Monavie and speaking publicly about it is because I don't like all of the blatantly false, and often illegal, claims made by this sales force to pitch their product. If Pepsi got that 1.49 by telling a person that their product could fix what ails them I would have a problem with them too. But of course they don't do that because it would be illegal and they would be shut down or heavily fined after their first commercial. I could easily find 100s of illegal claims posted online by Monavie distributors in less than a half hour. Do you think Monavie isn't aware that this is happening? Of course they are. And this is just what is put out on public forums. I can only imagine what is being said about the product behind closed doors in these tasting parties to justify people spending 25-45 dollars on a bottle of juice. A juice that is nothing special. Are they aggressively trying to enforce their own policies? Sure doesn't seem like it. In fact the one distributor who prompted a warning from the FDA to both himself and the company is still active.

  20. Crystal says:

    Facts you say. Let's define "fact": "An honest observation" – "Something actual as opposed to invented" – "Something which has become real" – "Information about a particular subject". All of the above are definitions I have found on "Fact". As an intelligent person you would have to agree that facts can be based on ones perception. Let's define "perception": "generally recognized to be true" - "as seen or understood by an individual" – "to become aware of through the senses" –"become conscious of". There is always room for argument. Not all things are true for all people.
    Back to Pepsi, or even pick another company when it comes to advertising it all plays out the same. Soft drinks have little to no nutritional value. Carbonated drinks that are high in sugar (or high fructose corn syrup) can cause obesity, diabetes and even take the enamel off your teeth to name a few issues. They do not use overweight people shooting up insulin to advertise there products. No they flash images of young healthy actors and actresses having a good time and just being cool. Make up hair products women watch these commercials with gorgeous models and buy the products because they want to look like them. Commercial advertising understands what sells and have created an art form out of implying things that are not true.
    I have been to tasting parties. The people I have met have been very open and caring. They share because it has worked for them. I have never been told that Mona vie is a cure all or a magic elixir. I have listened to good, caring people who drink Mona vie for good nutrition talk about what they PERSONALLY have noticed after drinking the juice.
    As for the "bottom" of the "pyramid" Where is the bottom? According to the last published income statement - statistics are for all Mona Vie Distributors who were paid commissions during the period from June 30, 2007 to June 27, 2008. It shows 60,190 people. That is a small number in comparison to population. The US has approximately 306 million people living in this country alone. About 28% of them are under 20 years old. That leaves 220 million people not to mention the generation next and Mona vie is an international company. Not everyone will be interested in what Mona vie has to offer, that is fine but there is a lot of room for growth. As for the validity of MLM business, Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, USANA and more have all been around for many years and still going.
    If people are experiencing better health and some even better wealth what is your problem? The opportunity is not "forced" on anyone. I have not heard any empty promises of untold wealth that you do not have to work for. Like any opportunity you get out of it what you put into it. Even at a 9 to 5 traditional job people do not generally get good raises or promotions by not working.
    You reference the comments you have read on the internet as false claims and lies. Mona vie as a company works hard to maintain Integrity. There are however people out there that do not conduct themselves favorably. I think it is more of a testimony to our society that to one company.

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