Behind the Brand
JOI was founded by Tony Jimenez, Dave Korstad, and Izzy Shu, former grad school classmates at California College of the Arts. Tony was thinking of ideas for his thesis project when the concept for JOI came to him; he was browsing the dairy alternatives aisle at his local grocery store and discovered that all of the dairy-free milks were full of gums, emulsifiers, and water. Tony, who followed a plant-based diet for health reasons, had always enjoyed experimenting in the kitchen and played around with homemade nut milk recipes in the past. He felt that he could create a cleaner plant-based milk and knew that he had stumbled upon a winning idea.
Initially, Tony hired a team of engineers in India to develop a small kitchen countertop-friendly Keurig-like machine that would allow consumers to enjoy plant-based milk in seconds. He created pods of concentrated and single-ingredient almond milk that would be compatible with such a machine. However, when the engineers came up with a 4-foot tall steel machine that resembled a refrigerator, Tony knew it wasn’t going to work. He decided to team up with classmates Dave and Izzy, in addition to his longtime friend Hector Gutierrez, to approach the issue from a different angle. Together, the team formulated a versatile almond milk base using a temperature-controlled grinding technique. Their product was not only a hit with consumers, but also among restaurants and foodservice providers. Today, with a heavy focus on sustainability, JOI — which stands for “just one ingredient” — offers a first-of-its-kind and fully customizable method of enjoying nutritious plant milk.