Smoothies became available in the United States in the late 1960s when ice cream vendors and health food stores began selling them. By the 1990s and 2000s, smoothies became available at mainstream cafés and coffee shops, and in pre-bottled versions at supermarkets.
Health food stores of the West coast of the United States began selling pureed fruit drinks in the 1930s based on recipes originated in Brazil. The 1940s-era Waring "Blendor" cookbooks published recipes for a "banana smoothie" and a "pineapple smoothee." The name "smoothee" or "smoothie" was used by books, magazines, and newspapers for a product made in blenders. Dan Titus, the director of The Juice and Smoothie Association states in his book, "Smoothies, The Original Smoothie Book", that "smoothies became popular in the middle 1960s, when there was a resurgence in the United States in macrobiotic vegetarianism." Health restaurants were particularly popular in California. The first trademark for a fruit slush was in the mid-1970s with the name "California Smoothie", which was marketed by the California Smoothie Company from Paramus, New Jersey. Smoothies from the 1960s and early 1970s were " basically fruit, fruit juice, and ice"; in some cases in the early 1970s, ice milk was also blended in to create the "fruit shake". These shakes were served at local health-food restaurants and at health-food stores, alongside tofu, fruits, carob, and other health-oriented foods.
In the early 1970s the co-founder of Smoothie King, Stephen Kuhnau, began selling blended fruit drinks under the name "smoothie". However, Kuhnau admits that he "...didn't invent the word smoothie"; instead, he states that the term dates back to the "fruit and fruit juice based drinks made by the "Hippies" in the late 1960s. In the 1980s, the increasing popularity of sports and fitness led to the marketing of supplement-fortified health food products. During this time, the first "specialized juice and smoothie bars" opened. By the 2000s, the "juice and smoothie industry [was] a multi-billion dollar industry."
Since the 1990s, many smoothie companies have been using frozen yogurt to give their smoothies a thick, creamy, milkshake-like texture. Many types of fruit smoothies are found in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, typically using yogurt and honey as well as a range of fresh fruit. Smoothies can also be mixed with soda pop and/or alcohol to make a cocktail. Smoothies appeal to a wide range of age groups because of their sweetness, fresh fruit flavor, and nutritional value. Most are high in dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Pre-bottled smoothies such as Odwalla, Naked Juice, and Bolthouse Farms are available in the fresh fruit and vegetable sections of supermarkets. They have a short shelf life and must be refrigerated to prevent fermentation of the fruit or any milk-derived content going off. Because of their high price tag (usually $3-4 per 12oz bottle in 2007), their target market is health food enthusiasts.
Some nutritionists have raised concerns about the "health halo" effect that can occur with a number of "health foods", including meal replacement bars, energy drinks, and supplement-enhanced beverages like smoothies. The "health halo" effect occurs because a person who is eating a food that makes health claims (e.g., "all natural", "no added sugar", "no fat", etc.) may eat more calories worth of the food than normal, because they believe that the food is "healthy". Since a smoothie may contain fruit juice, chunks of fruit or other foods (e.g., avocado), frozen yogurt, and natural sweeteners such as honey, it may have a high caloric density due to the high sugar content (counting all types of sugars, including naturally-occurring sugars). Wansick argues that a person drinking an "all natural", "no fat" smoothie may tend to have a larger serving size than if they were drinking a beverage that they believe to be "unhealthy" (e.g., a chocolate fudge milkshake).