Drinking fruits and vegetables

by Allison Sebolt
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As some consumers find eating enough fruits and vegetables difficult, juices and juice drinks sometimes become a healthy alternative to provide such essential nutrition. Specifically, 100% juices are viewed as healthy and a growth opportunity in the market.

"Consumers’ focus on health and wellness is one of the key drivers of the juice drinks category," said Sophie Arsenlis, brand manager for V8 V-Fusion, Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J. "Consumers see juices as a convenient way to fortify their diets and satisfy their nutritional needs."

Ms. Arsenlis said consumers increasingly are looking to vegetable juices to fortify their diets with nutrition as it becomes more difficult to incorporate enough vegetables into everyday meals. She said this may be attributed to five factors — palatability (some consumers do not enjoy the taste of vegetables), perishability, the amount of preparation involved with vegetables, issues with portability as there are relatively few "grab-and-go" vegetables, and the price, as fresh vegetables often cost more than other foods.

Ms. Arsenlis said when consumers consider juice drinks they look for good taste, nutritional benefits, something to quench their thirst, a meal accompaniment and a means of replenishing fluids.

V8 V-Fusion and V8 vegetable juice are both 100% juice, with V8 having two servings of vegetables in every 8-oz glass and V8 V-Fusion having a full serving of vegetables and a full serving of fruit in every 8-oz glass. Campbell recently introduced two new V8 V-Fusion flavors: goji raspberry and passion fruit.

"Campbell recognized the opportunity to satisfy consumers’ desire for ‘good tasting nutrition’ and created V8 V-Fusion juice, which delivers drinkable vegetable nutrition and a fruity taste," Ms. Arsenlis said. "It is made from a(n) … assortment of produce, combining flavors from fruits like strawberries and mangoes with colorful vegetable juices such as purple carrots and sweet potatoes."

Snapple, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Plano, Texas, has a range of juice drinks, many of which use "superfruits." These include a goji punch drink marketed as helping boost the immune system, a noni berry drink to help boost metabolism, a peach mangosteen drink touted for immunity benefits and a kiwi pear drink designed for metabolism. In addition, there is an acai blackberry juice drink. Snapple also has a 100% Juiced! line, which includes flavors such as green apple, orange mango, fruit punch and grape.

Tropicana, PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, N.Y., recently introduced Tropicana Pure Raspberry Acai juice, which is described as 100% juice. Tropicana Pure also is available in Peach Papaya & Mango Juice and Pomegranate & Blueberry Juice.

Through the Fuze brand, The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, has various low-calorie fruit-flavored beverage options, including a Slenderize line with flavors such as pomegranate acai berry and blueberry raspberry. Fuze also has the "refresh" and "vitalize" lines with various flavors in each.

According to Mintel International, Chicago, some of the biggest competition to the juice category is beverages designed to be low-calorie replacements for fruit juice and juice drinks, including fruit-flavored enhanced water and ready-to-drink teas. In addition, the rising price of juice drinks has discouraged consumers in the market, but focusing on the health benefits of 100% juices may stimulate growth. Mintel said in 2008, 100% fruit juice sales accounted for nearly 61% of the total market sales.

In addition, Mintel said flavor innovation in fruit juice blends will bring growth to the segment. Mintel said 54% of all fruit juice and juice drink users express interest in trying new flavors.

And while not eating fruits and vegetables may be a reason for turning to juice drinks, those consumers who do eat fruits and vegetables might be discouraged from trying more juice drinks. Mintel said 33% of respondents who don’t drink any fruit juice and juice drinks said they prefer eating fruit. Other reasons consumers don’t drink fruit juice include the drinks containing too much sugar, being too expensive and containing too many calories.

"We believe that the market for juice drinks will continue to be even more health focused; moreover, we believe that 100% juices will be viewed as the more healthful segment of the juice drink category," Ms. Arsenlis said. "In addition, to capitalize on the growing popularity of ‘functional foods,’ we expect that manufacturers may add healthful elements to juices to give them nutritional benefits."

According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, there were 262 new juice product introductions in 2008 and 263 in 2007.

According to research firm Information Resources, Inc., Chicago, total sales for the bottled juice category for the year ended Jan. 25 were $3,824,107,000, up 1% from the previous year.

This article can also be found in the digital edition of Food Business News, March 3, 2009, starting on Page 36. Click here to search that archive.

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