Located in the SoMa neighborhood of San Francisco, the Ruru Juice superfood trailer has found fans in Fortune 500 companies and small technology startups, all of whom are interested in bringing healthy food options to their employees. Ruru Juice’s menu items (think smoothies, salads, and açaí bowls brimming with fresh fruit) keep people fueled throughout the morning and afternoon.
Francisco Bastidas, an industrial design engineer, founded Ruru Juice back in 2015 while participating in the Draper University entrepreneurship program. His goal was simple—to provide the public with fresh-squeezed juice that incorporates exotic ingredients. Later he expanded the business to offer vegan entrees that highlight unique superfoods like açaí. But Ruru Juice truly stands out with a considerable emphasis on moringa, a green powder made from the leaves of the moringa tree that’s packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
Mo Ali, who met Bastidas at Draper University, later joined Ruru Juice as a business partner. We spoke with him about the mysteries of moringa and how the duo incorporates aspects of their respective cultures into their menu.
Francisco has a fascinating creative process. He makes a list of intriguing exotic ingredients and then starts to look around. So, for example, the chia. Why would we add the chia to our menu? He would list the properties and the benefits behind chia, and we would start exploring [the depths of the ingredient] through our tasting process. If we find a savory side or a sweet side, then we design a [fruit-smoothie] bowl around it.
Whether we’re designing a bowl or a drink, we follow the same process of product development. And we do several different tastings. We would reach out to our current audience and have them taste with us and ask them to let us know what they think.
We try to use different combinations and ingredients in our recipes and avoid using the basic orange juice or pineapple juice. And we also include a lot of the superfood ingredients.
We also try to bring in different ideas from our culture and integrate that. “Ruru” means fruit in Quechua (the language of the Quechua ethnic group indigenous to Ecuador and Peru). And Francisco has a moringa farm in Ecuador, and that’s why we started using that ingredient. We use the moringa from his farm. It’s really tasty and comes in its purest form. So there is no middleman, and there’s no one cheating us out of the quality.
Folks are starting to love it. So moringa does not really exist in the Bay Area, but we’re trying to push it through the bowls. Previously it was just considered as a powder that you purchase and put in a smoothie.
We’re trying to figure out what ingredients in nature we can use to build something that is of sustenance, taste, and texture. And eliminate the possibility of using dairy products and just showcase natural blends and fruits that don’t require much processing.
Typically people put [moringa] in their tea, or they add a scoop to their smoothie and go about their day. But what we did is we focused on creating it as an entree on its own by mixing it with avocado, spinach, bananas. It’s more on the hearty side, so we wanted to provide a complimentary dish to the açaí bowls that are typically sweet.
So a lot of our entrees, we try to find ingredients that are not common in your everyday eating habits. And we just try to improve our creativity as well as the taste and consistency and texture of the dish.
Our Superbowl Mix combines açaí and moringa. So you get the sweet and savory bowls combined into one. And you top it off with granola, fresh fruit, and hemp seeds and chia seeds.
Now from my end, we’re pushing a different dish from my culture. We haven’t rolled it out yet since we’re still testing it. It’s based on kushari, a grain-based high-carb entree from Egypt. It consists of tasty, carby, and starchy ingredients like rice, pasta, tomato sauce, lentils, chickpeas, and garlic. I didn’t want to use just the regular recipe, so we’re replacing some of the dense grains, like rice, and substituting quinoa. We’re trying to marry my culture with Francisco’s and creating a new fusion entree.
Because we want to be as successful as possible, we’ve focused on freshness. We make our products every day. During the day, we were trying to shift into an online direction and turning our trailer into a food company. That’s what we want to do, create product lines. We want our customers to pick up or purchase our products from different sources.
Are you in San Francisco? Order catering from Ruru Juice.