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:


    You need to go back to MonaVie training class. You are incorrect. MonaVie didn’t patent the processed freeze-dried acai concentrate. That was Dr. Schauss and friends. You’ll note that in his powerpoint presentations, he shows the acai concentrate as having an ORAC score of 1,027 umoles/gm. However, on his patent, it is listed as 536 umoles/gm.

    The low anthocyanin levels of MonaVie (0.095 mg/ml.) indicate that only small amounts of acai is added to the product anyways.

    Yes, there is water added. There would be no way to correct the batch without adding water. Whoever told you this was misinformed.

    4 oz. a day certainly does not provide your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. It supplies a little less than one serving of fruit (all phytonutrients).

    As for the ORAC, MonaVie has 2,698 umoles per 4 oz. ONE apple (red delicious variety) has an ORAC score of 6,413 umoles. That’s over 2.4 times higher than 4 oz. of MonaVie.

    So, you seem to be wrong on just about every point. Please take a MonaVie refresher course.

  2. Chris says:

    I imagine the reason a bottle costs so much is so that so many people can get paid off of it. MLM does work, but I would have a hard time pushing products that I don’t beleive in…moreso that I woould never buy myself. Eat an apple….

  3. dayspring says:

    They don’t say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” for nothing.

  4. Donna says:

    Food Tech in CA,
    You seem to be educated and well spoken. You make intelligent sense. HOWEVER, please refrain from using the ‘anyways’ There is no such word and even the word anyway IS NOT NECESSARY. It makes a wordsmith cringe and you speak and spell so well. Sorry to ctitique’ just hoping you won’t say or write when it really counts. I am eating my apple right now.

  5. Food Tech in CA says:

    Donna, anyways may not be formal english, but is is now accepted as part of common english.

    Of course, we can also comment on your sentence “You make intelligent sense.” Is there any other kind of sense?

    Anyways, this isn’t a thesis. Thanks for the suggestion. 🙂

  6. On the Fence says:

    It is also important to realize that the acai berry is very bitter. Extremely bitter. It would be impossible for Mona Vie to taste good without lowering the acai quantity per bottle to ensure that people would want to drink it.

    Also, credible websites like WebMD have covered the acai topic and have found that there is no proof that the acai berry is overtly special in any way. They considered it on par with blueberries and the cranberry. Not a bad group to be in, but at the recent “seminar” ( I use that term loosely….more of a pep rally for Mona Vie) I was strong armed into attending they made an outrageous claim that the acai berry was 15 times stronger than the other leading berries. Utter nonsense. Not to mention on the Mona Vie website, they claim that the acai is ten times stronger. Did the acai berry evolve or something?

    I recently signed on with Mona Vie and I don’t like what I see. Too bad the people who introduced me to it didn’t bother to question anything about the company. I feel misled.

    Although their new hybrid energy drink is really good (EMV). I can’t usually drink energy drinks because of all the fillers and artificial ingredients. They give me killer migraines. I experience no crash at all with EMV. Was very pleased. I just have troubling supporting the product because of the past of the owner of the company.

    Not to mention the compensation plan is jaded. I wasn’t told that I had to remain “active”. Meaning I have to have 100 Personal volume points. That is equal to one case of juice. But wait, I don’t want the juice. So I thought I would just buy a case of EMV, since I enjoy it. Oh wait, one case of EMV is only 30 Personal volume points. So I am not “active”…

    I actually have a couple of good contacts that would provide me with bulk orders on a monthly basis. The problem lies in the “pay on the weakest leg” part. Also, in order to make money on distributors (your downline) I have to be active (of course).

    I have done the calculations and if my distributor below me buys 4,000 dollars worth of juice, I would get 2,800 group volume points. Naturally, volume points get decreased for bulk orders. So instead of getting 1,200 volume points for selling 12 cases, I get 700.

    Now I get a bulk order bonus of $75 for 3 cases of juice. So the 50$ that I miss from the loss of 500 volume points (1200-700) I get back. But wait, in order to get the $75 bonus I need to have 200 personal volume points instead of 100! I would have to SPEND $210 month to EARN $75. Wait…what? I would literally be drinking my profits. Since they would order 12 case I would get 4 bonuses. Well, 4 times 75 is 300. So instead of pocketing $300 a month of bonuses I am only making $90.

  7. Food Tech in CA says:

    On The Fence,

    Many of the distributors don’t understand their own product. The acai that they are talking about is the processed, freeze-dried acai powder. It has an ORAC of 1,027 umoles/gm.

    Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Except, it’s only one of many ingredients contained in MonaVie. From the lab tests performed by AIBMR Life Sciences (Dr. Schauss), there can’t be too much of it in the product.

    AIBMR found the ORAC of a FINISHED bottle of MonaVie to be 22.81 umoles/ml. So, the ORAC dropped from 1,027 to 22.81 umoles.

    Another indicator is the level of anthocyanins in the finished product. It was found to be 0.095 mg/ml. Anthocyanins are the predominant antioxidant in acai. If there were high levels of acai in the product, there would be high levels of anthocyanins. There is not.

    On the label, you’ll note that the first ingredient is acai powder/acai puree. Why add the puree if you already have the super powder?

    So, acai can be listed as number one on the label. The puree can contain any part of the acai plant. It may or may not, have the anthocyanin-rich fruit. By reviewing the numbers, it appears to be little of the acai powder or fruit present.

  8. Dany Watson says:

    I had an old friend, who I havent seen in years, have me over for a ‘tasting party’, which I figured was just some wierd thing he was into. I thought it was kind of messed up sounding, but I figured it was a chance to catch up and meet some new people.

    I get there and I’m the only one there. We play a game of pool and then he drags me into the other room to watch some BS video and powerpoint slides on MV.

    I’m blown away that the only reason I’m over is because he see’s me not as an old friend, but as a business opportunity.

    He begins drawing up how this MLM works, and it looks exactly like a pyramid. I told him, this is too damn fishy for my liking.

    He seemed insincere and unenthusiastic about his intentions. Think of it this way, if you had discovered a hidden goldmine in town, and you wanted an old friend to know (for his benefit), I would expect a little excitement and enthusiasm. Rather, I sensed regret and desperation in his voice throughout his ‘presentation’.

    You may get a weekly paycheck, but I would have trouble having friends and family over, pushing them into some company (and the same catch 22 that I’ve found myself in) that I don’t believe in. Friends and family are worth more than money to me.

    Honestly, I feel like this marketing setup turns the people you care about into $$$ signs, and I don’t like that.

    Ultimately, I feel like these people have found themself in a bad situation, and the only way to get out is by putting those around them in the same set of circumstances. This, in my eyes, is betrayal.

    Sorry to drone on, but I thought I would share my story and take on this MV craze. FoodTech in CA, I thank you for your knowledge regarding this scam.

  9. Wtfdouwannaknow says:

    Uhm..No! Opt out quickly. You are going to be paying for some expensive ass juice just to stay within a 100-200 point(volume) to qualify for bullshit benefits. Most people in this business average between 50-300 a month or less if they are damn good. MLM’s boost the rest of the pay if you have the knowledge to run them (MLM is truly your work horse) The key is to recruit dumbasses that will pay 1,000 up front and Auto pilot that shit. And so on..If you can handle it and wanna stay on the computer all day with MLM.go for it, but I have other endeavors….

    1866 217 8455 (cancell auto pilot and subscriptions) (cancel and delete your enrollement with them and account within &@ HOURS or ELSE!!!! you will beput back on auto pilot for the rest of your life with 200 dollars coming out of your account every month and if you dont have money and it over drafts,Monavie will contact the IRS and they will come looking for your ass, and then all of a sudden everything you do will be silenced and then before you know it, you end up in the Amazon.

  10. Raymond says:

    how do you explain how our OLYMPIC weightlifting coach here at the University of Florida loves the product more than anything else? why are there so many doctors on board of MonaVie?

  11. Food Tech in CA says:

    Raymond, the explanation is simple: you’re lying. There are no medical doctors on MonaVie’s avisory board.

  12. Jessica says:

    A good old american BS…..don’t waste your money on this. Anybody who’s leaving positive comments about this product is lying…

  13. Rick says:

    Drink the wine….save your money!!

  14. paula364 says:

    I started using the Dr Max Powers Burn (which has Acai Berry) a couple of months ago, and so far I have liked the results that I have seen. I take the pill in conjuction with thier 15 Day Cleanse, and I have seen weight loss through the past few months.

    I will say though, that this pill is not a quick fix all by itself. First of all, it does take time to see results, so do not expect anything within the first few days. In addition, this pill HELPS in the aide of weight loss, but you sitll must choose a healthy eating plan, as well as a workout plan.

    By taking the Dr Max Powers Burn I have felt more energized, which has boosted me to go to the gym everyday. I do not get nearly as hungry as I used to at all times of the day – my major downfall was definitely the constant snacking I did all day, usually out of pure boredm. But this pill makes your body more regular and really curbs your appetite during those times when you should not be eating. It is definitely an effective pill, but only in conjuction with healthy eating and exercise.

  15. Passerby :D says:

    The MONAVIE PULSE is drink for what purpose? How much is it?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Acai has high concentration of antioxidants. Its skin and pulp contains a high level of anthocyanin… and this antioxidant has been proven to effectively combat several forms of cancer. A University of Florida research study proved that acai extracts eliminated human leukemia cells in a laboratory environment.

  17. Food Tech in CA says:

    Anonymous, you are correct. Acai does contain high levels of anthocyanins. That’s how we know MonaVie contains very little acai. The anthocyanin level in MonaVie is 0.17 mg/ml. (Schauss/AIBMR). That indicates MonaVie puts only trace amounts of acai in it’s product. Thank you for bringing that up.

  18. Dick Hertz says:

    TEAM is a cult, and that the guys at top are greedy assholes.

  19. Dick Hertz says:

    Team and Mona Vie offers nothing but empty promises, there so-called “opportunity” is nothing but a load of heaping bull-hockey…Orrin and Chris are nothing but liers, cheaters and charlatans…there no better then Bernie Madoff. TEAM/MONA VIE IS A SCAM AND ANYONE WHO TELLS YOU OTHERWISE IS LYING OUT THEIR BUTT..

  20. Steve Frost says:

    i check out this shit and i asked about product info on this mona vie for sale purposes and noone had any or knew anything about monavie besides that its a magical healing juice… then they asked me do you know what in gatorade. i said water sugar flaoring & electrolytes. then they asked what do electrolytes do. i said to help with your hemoglobin level to help supply more oxygen to your body while working or or playing sports. so then they asked do you know whats in dr pepper. i said no.. they said but you still drink it right?? thats when i told them to fuck off and i left

  21. laurel says:

    It’s my understanding that acai berries have nutients/enzymes in them that are fabulous for you but when they are “processed” ie. made into a juice, they have to cook the berries and heat the bottles which kills these nutients anyways so what’s the point unless you can get your hands on the raw berries? I live in mn, I’ve never seen them. Does anyone know where I could find seeds to grow my own?

  22. Linda says:

    I do not like the way some distributors claim Mona vie is a prevention to Cancer, no such animal exsists. that is a lie.

  23. Nirmala R Warrier says:

    I read all the above comments. But to my personal opinion I like MONAVIE products which I use since last three months.It regulated my cholestrol leavel as well as joint pains. I feel much smart even in these late fifties. I got the result so I love it. Do not critisise any thing without your personal experience.

  24. Dave M says:

    If you dont know what your talking about you really shouldnt say anything.. I take the weight loss and the juice and guess what. with the weight loss I feel great and I am never hungry, with the juice my blood pressure has dropped back to normal, my knee pain is much better, I can walk up and down the steps now, and I dont have to live on sinus tablets everyday, I take the Red, Green and Yellow, I really don’t care if you believe me or not. My life has been much better and I feel about 10 years younger, you can not put a price tag on that. Think what you want to but if you give it a real chance and not lesson to narrow minded people you just might feel better and be happy again.

  25. Showed up says:

    Does no one realize an apple doesn’t have those nutrients anymore either? Yes, if you get a home grown but besides that nothing we get from the store is nutritious. We have over farmed nutrient deprived lands that we stick millions of crops in and water them down every year to feed our over populated planet. we are pulling more out than can go back in.

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