Mona Vie Scam? The Magical Acai Berry Juice Product

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Mona Vie Acai Berry Juice ProductMona Vie. One of my friend’s wife was targeted to join Mona Vie. I’ve seen a lot of references to both Mona Vie and one of the components in its mixture, açaí, but never really looked into it. I knew that it smelled fishy, in part because its a classic multi-level marketing program, and that alone gives me reason to pause. However, I wanted to take an objective look at it, since there are a lot of MLMs out there and they can’t all be bad right?

Multi-Level Marketing / Pyramid Schemes

Only two words are needed to describe Mona Vie, the brand name of the juice: pyramid scheme. Mona Vie is a “standard multi-level marketing program,” commonly referred to as a pyramid scheme, that relies on people marketing their products. Every time you make a sale, you earn a commission. The people who recruited you, and the people who recruited that person (your “upline”) into the program will also earn a commission. If you recruit someone into the program (your “downline”), you will earn a commission on their sales. The classic pyramid scheme.

There’s is nothing inherently illegal or disreputable about multi-level marketing programs. They aren’t illegal in the sense that Ponzi Schemes are illegal , it’s just that most implementations of MLM programs only really benefit the people at the top of the pyramid. This is because many of these programs have quotas that members need to sell and, when they can’t, members often find themselves buying the products themselves just to meet quota. Anyway, enough with the generalities, what’s specifically scammy about Mona Vie?

Mona Vie Scam?

What’s this Açaí berry juice product? It’s supposed to jump all over the antioxidant health craze people have been clamoring all over and Açaí berries are a very good source of antioxidants (most dark colored berries are, like blackberries, raspberries, etc.); that part is legitimate. The drink itself is 19 juices blended together.

There are two parts of Mona Vie that are suspect. First, many agree that antioxidants are beneficial for you but Mona Vie makes some big promises such as improving cardiovascular health, improving joint function, etc. It claims that it can cure many ailments because it contains components that have been shown to address some of them. Nothing they say is a flat-out lie but it’s like saying you can do laps in a kiddie pool. Possible? Yes. Probable? Not really.

The second part that’s suspect is the fact that the stuff is $30-$40 a ~26 oz. bottle and proponents say you have to drink 2 oz. in the morning and 1 oz. in the evening. Simple math shows that each month you’ll have to spend $120-$170 on the juice, or $1,500-$2,000 a year. If you want the benefits of these types of juices, you can get it for much much less. Oh, and any distributor has to buy 4 bottles a month. Sure you can sell them, but what if you don’t? You’re always on the hook.

Other red flags? Their CEO and founder, Dallin Larsen, is a 20 year veteran of the MLM industry and the FDA recently shut down a similar juice product operation, Dynamic Essentials distributed Royal Tongan Limu juice, for illegal business practices. Hmmm…

Finally, check out the MonaVie compensation plan, courtesy of The Fraud Files blog. There are all sorts of crazy exceptions and rules. For example, you have two legs on your “downline,” but are only paid on commissions based on the shorter of the two. It gets really complicated, really quickly, and that certainly doesn’t bode well for people who sell the stuff.

The bottom line is that you’re overpaying for a product and, if you’re a distributor, you have to buy 4 bottles a month. Do you think it’s a scam? (this site, Purple Horror, documents a lot of Mona Vie’s shenanigans)

(Photo: wmode)

{ 327 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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327 Responses to “Mona Vie Scam? The Magical Acai Berry Juice Product”

  1. Food Tech in CA says:

    Sorry, Tom. MonaVie is not any better than other common store shelf juices. Please review rhis study on juices conducted by UCLA: Compare the ORAC and total phenolics to MonaVie’s AIBMR study.
    You’ll find that MonaVie ranks well behind several common juices (concord grape, pomegranate, black cherry) and about equal with cranberry juice.

    A single apple will provide you with almost three times the ORAC and phenolics as 4 oz. of MonaVie. Save your money.

  2. Anonymous says:


    You obviously didn’t do your homework an your comments def back that up. Very close minded.

  3. Marge says:

    I love the w3ay I feel with Mona Vie. There is nothing like it. I feel much more energy in the morning and sleep so much better in the night, I am much more slert durning the day, and do not feel sleepy.

  4. Marge says:

    I love Mona Vie… Feel better, sleep better.

  5. Food Tech in CA says:

    Marge, I feel just fine. I sleep just fine. I don’t drink MonaVie. Explain that.

    • Brooklyn Distributor says:

      You must be getting your nutriants elseware, which is awesome. The sad part is, most people do not have the time or want to research what they add to their body daily. Monavie does provide a solution to a problem. I appreciate your comments, but also know there is always more than one way!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I found some Acai vodka at my local liquor store. I drink 2 oz in the morning and then 1 oz at night, similar to what one might do with Mona Vie. It makes me feel really good. Sometimes if I want to mix it up a little, I have some pomegranate vodka. Man, I love these antioxidants!

    • zapeta says:

      LOL, yeah, those are my kind of antioxidants!

      • G says:

        Wow that was a really intelligent response. I’m so glad my sponge of a brain has room left in it for your profound insights…

        Im sorry….just in case you dont get it… im being mad sarcastic.

  7. Ric says:

    i love people who hate pyramid schemes as they call them. In reality MLM opportunites allow you to be your own boss and work your own schedule, earning money based on your efforts. If you go hard you get paid if you relax you dont get as much. Try that on your 9-5 ( the true pyramid ), you’ll be FIRED. Do you make as much as your boss, or his boss? But you go every day and bust your hump. Really, thats sounds like the pyramid to me.

  8. Food Tech in CA says:

    Ric, you do realize that 87% of MonaVie distributors made no money last year, don’t you? I’ll take my bi-weekly paycheck anyday over those odds.

    • G says:

      Hey Ric, did you realize that top execs and ceos, probably your boss, makes the same amount of money in one day…maybe one week if he/she is nice…then you do in one year???

      Do you understand the concept of leverage….and when your an employee….u have NO leverage.

      i hope you invest that would be a start. Network distirbution….a meritocratic system….is probably not for you… you sound like a lazy SOB.

      I need mindless employees in my business… to apply for $1 above minimum wage…I’ll even pay you weekly…

      • T says:

        I agree with Ric! I myself am a Mona Vie Distributer. And it is working great for me! I do work hard at it… But I am receiving more in my life doing this than any other job that I have busted my ass at for a lot longer than I have been doing Mona Vie! Oh and one thing that you close minded people haven
        t done your research… there are 8 ways of getting paid in Mona Vie, not just direct sales. In fact, sales is the worst way to make money in this business. How many ways do YOU get paid? I’m guessing 1 or 2. You yourself sound more mindless than anyone.

        • dee says:


          just reading the posts re monavie… ive tried it and like it… ive never had an alcoholic beverage in my life and im very sensitive to medicines… i keep wondering if there isnt something addictive in this product..

          i would like to be able to afford monavie without having to sell it (that is if it is ONLY fruit jucies)… i do wonder if it has one of those addictive drugs also found in the jungle that makes you want more and more of it.

          has anyone ever run a test on this product to determine if there is some unknown or unclaimed ingredient in it?

          • Donna says:

            I was a true skeptic of this business. After I tried it I loved the results. There is nothing bad in this product and it has been tested in several labs by several doctors and there is a lot of documentation to support this. I got involved in the business just to get my juice paid for and since then I have replaced my full time job. MonaVie is wonderful. Feel free to email me if you need more info.

          • vi says:

            Save your money! Monavie contains less than 10% of acai!!
            If you want to drink acai drink Zola, it has 93% of acai. In 2010 Zola won a gold award for best tasting and freshest acai. They make their juice within 12 hours of picking the berries. Trust me I work in the natural food industry and wouldn’t speak on anything I wasn’t sure about!

      • Shelley says:

        Too bad you think of your employees that way…i wouldnt work for 20 bucks an hour if you were my boss!

        • dayspring says:

          If you’re making enough to replace your full time job, then you are one of the lucky ones, Donna. Many people don’t feel any different taking MonaVie. Glad you do and can make a living at it. It’s just too darn pricey for me.

          • dayspring says:

            Meant to say that you are one of the lucky few. The vast majority of distributors don’t make any money at all or sell just enough to cover the cost of their product.

  9. Soccer9040 says:

    This must be catching on or I must look more and more like the target for this group. I have been approached most recently while I was pumping gas at Giant Eagle.

  10. fetu says:

    My sister-in-law swears that MonaVie cured her bad athritic pain in her hands that was stopping her from enjoying tennis after many years of playing. If she stops drinking it the pain starts coming back.

  11. dayspring says:

    There are many less expensive supplements that will do the same thing – stop arthritic pain, as well as make you feel good and give you more energy. It’s the antioxidants in it that work, and there are many less expensive ways to get your antioxidants. has several acai supplements at very reasonable prices. I love Smart Basics’ acai juice blend, 1 oz a day, and it’s only about $15 a month!

    • G says:

      hey. does vitacost pay you to consume their products…?

      did you realize that you just gave free advertising for vitacost….in fact i may just purchase some and send you one pill in the mail as a thank you for referring me to this product….

      I’m really nice like that….unlike vitacost which is just taking your money…and giving you NO opportunity to make it back…

      Think Different. times are changing. Consumerism is going to be more prevalent in todays society, especially with the recession and all… that means. companies are going to find ways to appreciate and compensation their customers….

      network distribution is the #1 way for a company to do so!

    • smj says:

      So, let me ask you…do you get 13 servings of fruits and vegetables with your Smart Basics juice?! NO! You can’t. You will find shampoo, deoderant, face wash, and of course juice all with acai berry in it. BUT Mona Vie is the only company that you are actually getting all of the acai, because they have a special patent freeze dry they use where everybody else uses spray dried acai. The berry is found in rainforest and is mostly seed. When picked from the tree it loses 78% of the nurtrients in 24 hours. You should really take time to do some research of your own. You will find Mona Vie is a one of a kind juice, company, and business opportunity!!! I will be more than happy to send u or anyone else interested an email with a video on how the acai berry is picked and all the facts on Mona Vie.

      • dayspring says:

        No, Smart Basics acai juice blend doesn’t have 13 servings of fruits and vegetables but neither does Mone Vie. I LIKE the Smart Basics juice and it gives me more energy! I don’t need you to tell me what I should be drinking! My sister-in-law and niece both sell Mona Vie, so I don’t need you to “inform” me about Mona Vie, either. I already know all I need to know. I’ve tried it and don’t really care for the taste or the big bottles. And I don’t care to spend $160 (per person) a month on fruit juice!

      • vi says:

        Sjm, Freeze dried is nothing compared to making your juice within 12 hours of picking the acai! Besides monavie has less than 10% of acai while other juices who have won Gold awards have 93% acai!!!! And by the way, you have more than 24 hrs before losing the nutrients.

  12. dayspring says:

    Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil and especially krill oil, also reduce or eliminate joint pain. One of Mona-Vie’s juices has glucosamine in it. Perhaps that’s the one your sister-in-law is taking. She doesn’t have to spend that kind of money to get the same benefit. Now, if she’s doing it to make money, that’s a different story, although it can be difficult getting others to spend that kind of money. The reason Mona-Vie is so pricey is because it’s sold by multi-level marketers who get a percentage of the profits.

    • G says:

      I would also take into consideration the ingredients into the price.

      Why does it look all weird? skins, seeds, pulp, natural and essential fatty acids… its all in their.

      The cost to have freeze dried acai powder… high.

      Fruit juices stink – too much sugar. its awesome that MV is low glycemic index AND load. Load is infact more important. i.e. popcorn is high index, but you have to eat a lot for it to have a high load on your body (therefore its low load) and wont change your blood sugar too much.

      Add marketing and retail distirbution channels + margins that everyone who distributes in stores wants…HIGHER price then it is now.

      Online purchasing = no overhead = lower costs. Thats the rule all over the place.

      Network distribution….is online purchasing. low overhead. savings passed on to customers.

      I’ve graduated from the top business school in canada with an A average…now i sometimes laugh because business is logical and i think when people think it through properly, anyone can do it. people just dont think, they are sheep. its a sad truth in life.

      the business model is sound. take the stigma away and see it as a distribution method for a company with a product…and they are giving back to their customers….its pretty awesome…and it will be used more often….the stigma will go away…and where will you be if you have not got in early…

      like most business – there is a first movers advantage. If you like meritocracies… it. find a product you like. do network distribution on the side. its a great extra source of income. and if you want a solid wealth plan…you need multiple sources of income. Have a job that you love to do, take the salary, invest some, do network marketing, and save/spend the rest.

  13. MonaNoob says:

    I’m debating whether or not to join Monavie as a distributor and I actually was just reading the comments on this to try and feel out a consensus of thought about the whole business in general.

    Everyone on here seems primarily to be arguing the drinks nutritional benefits.. some say it has some…others say it doesn’t; but to be honest I don’t really even care about that as much as I do seeing the profit stats. I want to see if people are actually making lots of money off of this, or are they for the most part just breaking even, or are they being victimized by a shady super-corporation. If anyone has anything to say about how the company has significantly benefited them financially I would love to hear it.

    • Christie says:

      Hi MonaNoob

      Every company has good products otherwise they wouldn’t be in business. It’s the business model that’s MOST important to look at & understand. You will need SKILLS to work your business, whichever you choose, & we can help you with those skills at no charge.

      Many companies set the distributors up for failure right from the getgo. The high prices referred to in some comments are part of the biz model! The same applies to the diffs between Walmart & your local higher-priced supermarket… same products which you usually pay more for outside of Walmart… it’s the business model.

      If it’s just the product you want go to eBay & buy them there (be a customer only). After all you don’t walk into Walmart wanting to buy their store, do you? lol

      When you want to make a living from those products PLEASE get educated first of what works & what doesn’t. That’s what we do to help create success so you don’t become another statistic.

      This information turned my life around & put me on my pathway to all-around success. There’s nothing to buy, no “gotchas”, no products or companies are mentioned, so freeze your credit card! The information is valuable & is the straight TRUTH on what you need to APPLY to make it work for YOU.

      Get the info here & contact me ANYTIME:

      We help anyone in any company.

    • G says:

      I bought 12 cases. consumed some. gave away some. sold the rest. made $300 profit. wrong approach. retail is not the way.

      Went to school. just consumed the product. i love it. i feel different.

      did the business again, different approach, aligned with the proven systems that my friends and the companies say that work…one month, about 40 hours in one month….made $500 in residual income over the span of the next 3 months. Stopped because of school again…and like the model shows, you lose momentum, you lose customers, the checks decrease and then stop.

      The system works. schedule time for the business activities. execute. stay positive. The nay-sayers are losers. if your a go-getter, if your an entrepreneur, if you thrive in meritocracies….this business is for you. And if you’re not, but want to see the income….become this type of person. Sometimes people need to change to see the results in life they want in their mind…this isnt a bad change. its a change for the better.

      The world is changing. network distribution is going to shake off the stigma of a scheme. its an investment of a little bit of time and money. where you have control over what happens. The financial world, after this recession, now that may GAIN a stigma as being a scheme. Because investments, on a market with so much volatility based on media and perception….are not so popular anymore. investing in businesses, after a careful analysis of the product, the market, and the model – those are good investments.

      network distribution pays customers. I like it. a lot!

  14. Juliana James-Thomas says:

    @MonaNoob: Reviewing the past four (4) federally required distributor income disclosure statements side-by-side:

    78% of all distributors were earning less than $2,180/yr

    80% of all distributors were earning less than

    82% of all distributors were earning less than $2,032/yr

    85% of all distributors were earning less than $1,817/yr

    Remember, these aren’t annualized reports. These numbers, this rapid descent is based on bi-annual reporting, with a snapshot of information analyzed two times each year.

    Imagine a graph showing 78%, 80%, 82%, and then 85%…. representing all of the distributors losing money!

    Don’t let anyone try to tell you the numbers are not accurate because they’re skewed by the people who just buy once, cancel the automatic shipments, and “don’t work the business”. The fine print defines who is classified as a distributor versus a retail customer. If all of those thousands were counted the numbers would actually be even worse! The numbers are skewed….but they’re skewed in favor of MonaVie….and they’re still incredibly bad!!

    It will be interesting to learn what the 2009 end of year reporting reveals.

    Full year 2007

    Mid-year 2008

    Full year 2008

    Mid-year 2009

    Most recently available income numbers from MonaVie Corporation itself prove >85% of all distributors are not even breaking even.

  15. Christie says:

    It’s not a popular thing to say.. however it’ll save you much frustration! ALWAYS read the Policies & Procedures together with the Comp Plan BEFORE you join ANY company. (especially the Termination clauses)

    Binary compensation plans (which this company you’re talking about is) is paid out to you on WEAK leg volume. Most folk don’t even understand a binary let alone weak leg volume!!

    We can help you understand all these quirks.

  16. TJ says:

    “Hey guess what, Avon is a multi-level pyramid scheme and I can get their products at the local grocery store!” That’s what people were saying when it first came out. Look at them now….. If you have never tried the product for at least a month, honestly, you should shut your trap. We have guys that are NATIONAL Ironman Champions drinking the product that know their bodies better than any of us and have tried more products than many of us can even think of. Guess what, they swear by this juice. Say what you want, its good nutrition that delivers the goods. Network marketing is not for everyone and yes it takes REAL effort. Many Americans want to get rich quick without the work of starting your own business. “Hey, guess what, over 90% of all new businesses fail their first year!” Same rules apply here. Have a great New Years.

  17. dayspring says:

    The problem isn’t whether MonaVie is nutritious. It’s that it’s so darned expensive! And that’s because it’s sold through multilevel marketing. A large part of the cost goes to the distributors. There are less expensive products one can take for antioxidants and good nutrition. I’m taking an organic acai juice blend that includes goji and mangosteen among others, only one ounce a day (you can take more if you want), which has given me a lot more energy. A month supply costs less than $15! Barley grass powder (from juiced barley such as Green Magma) is another very nutritious product, not to mention chlorella. You don’t have to spend $160 or more a month on MonaVie unless you want to work the business and hopefully get it for free. Then good luck trying to get others to spend that kind of money on a regular basis, especially in this economy.

    • G says:

      If apple increased the price of their ipod by $100, but then said, hey, if you can get a 3 people to buy an ipod, we’ll drop it by $100, and if you get 3 more, hey will give you another $100, and if directly and indirectly, after the date you purchase an ipod, 20 people buy an ipod… you’ll get yours for free….

      would you purchase that ipod. i bet you would. cuz its a reputable brand that you think can sell.

      MonaVie is 5 years old. its pretty successful – and thats an understatement.

      imagine if you got into apple when it was 5 years old…OOOH WEEEE…i love first mover advantages.

      and one more thing….wanna know how much an ipod costs to make…well the people in china probably wont tell you…cuz then you’d be like…MAN APPLE IS SO OVERCHARGING ME. look at this markup. like WTF?!?!

      oh but the wholesalers and distrubutors and retailers like best buy and future shop…they gotta make money too…

      eff the retail distribution system kinda sucks for consumers.

  18. Food Tech in CA says:

    TJ, exactly how is MonaVie good nutrition? An apple has an ORAC value 2.4 times greater than an entire days serving of MonaVie.

    There are several store shelf juices with higher levels of antioxidants, so exactly what does MonaVie have that fresh produce doesn’t? Please provide scientific references, not MonaVie talking points.

    I personally know two Ironman competitors that do quite well. Neither drinks MonaVie.

  19. vern says:

    okay, so here MIGHT be something you doesn’t know about Monavie,
    Monavie is using a method called Freeze-Drying Method patent.
    Its More Expensive because it keeps 95% of the Acai’s Anti-oxidant value!
    versus losing up to 75% (non-Mona-Vie products) due to MV’s Freeze-Drying Method patent
    Can’t put a price on Good Health!

  20. vern says:

    oh yeah and btw, the method is claimed by Monavie for 20 years which means no other company can use that method to produce acai juice.

  21. Food Tech in CA says:

    Vern, freeze drying of food products has been around for decades. MonaVie’s version is simply adapted for acai.

    If you review the patent application (co-authored by Dr. Schauss) you’ll find that the ORAC of the processed freeze-dried acai is listed at 536 umoles/gm. This is considerably less than the 1,027 umoles/gm. that Dr. Schauss cites on his powerpoint presentations.

    It’s a moot point anyways, as MonaVie, itself, only has an ORAC of 22.81 umoles/ml.

    It’s quite obvious, from that number, that very little acai is used in the product.

    4 oz. of MonaVie gives you a total ORAC value of 2,698 umoles. One apple gives you a total ORAC value of 6,413 umoles. The apple costs $0.75

    So, what has the greater value?

  22. dayspring says:

    You don’t have to spend $160+ a month on juice to get good health. And that’s only for one person.

    • Chris says:

      Of course not but if you have something to sell, there will be someone with money who wants to buy it…especially when it comes to increasing one’s health.

  23. Garry Egan says:

    There are two industries here. The Health Industry which only makes money if you are healthy by their products. And the Sickness Industry, which only makes money if your sick.better health is the root of lesser pain, not covering the problem with a pain killer which as we know is addictive and destructive.

  24. Food Tech in CA says:

    I agree Garry. However, it isn’t necessary to pay $40 for a bottle of fruit juice, when you can get many more phytonutrients from fresh produce for a fraction of the price. It’s called common sense.

  25. Anonymous says:

    You obviously didn’t do your homework very well. As a Mona Vie distributor, I can say that the compensation plan is awesome and I just got in 6 months ago. It does not work the way you describe. Also, you are incorrect about the science of the juice. There is no other comparable juice on the market. MonaVie patented their process of freeze drying the acai berry, which retains all the nutrients. In addition, the juice is the whole fruit, skin, seeds and all with no water added. 4 ounces a day provide all your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. I can say that I know many people that have had dramatic health improvement from drinking the juice. Not a miracle – just good nutrition which most of us don’t get.

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