Organic Picks Up Steam In Juice Segment

January 1, 2006
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Organic Picks Up Steam In Juice Segment
By ELIZABETH BREWSTER
As low-calorie and functional products drew less of a crowd, the juice segment has seen a surge of interest in organic label claims during the past year, report industry experts.
“Since 2003, there’s been a pretty steady march forward for organic-type product claims [in juice beverages],” says Tom Vierhile, director of Productscan Online, Naples, N.Y. “Organic claims were up 17.3 percent in 2005, up from 13.7 percent in 2004, and 8.5 percent in 2003… We’re definitely seeing more interest from the bigger food manufacturers toward organics.”
In fact, major player Ocean Spray, based in Lakeville-Middleboro, Mass., jumped on the organic bandwagon last fall with three Organic 100 percent Juice Blends: Cranberry, Cranberry Blueberry and Cranberry Raspberry. All three are certified USDA Organic and carry the organic seal.
Meanwhile, juice products claiming to be low in calories or to have no calories at all have seen a decline in the past year, primarily because many companies were chasing the low-carb fad, which has peaked, Vierhile adds. “We’re seeing a similar situation happen with low-sugar and no-sugar type product claims — those are both down, too,” he says.
Another waning trend is juices that claim to be high in certain nutrients, a trend that “actually peaked in 2003 for juices and juice drinks,” Vierhile says. Ninety-three products made such claims in 2005, he explains, compared with 101 in 2004.
Refrigerated orange juice sales by brand
Brand Dollar Sales (IN MILLIONS) % Change Vs. Prior Year Market Share
Tropicana Pure Premium $1,123 -4.8% 43.2%
Private label 414 +1.4% 15.9%
Minute Maid Premium 394 -3.5% 15.2%
Florida’s Natural 249 +6.6% 9.6%
Simply Orange 168 +10.9% 6.5%
Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise 28 +38.9% 1.1%
Minute Maid Premium for Kids 18 +12.8% 0.7%
Citrus World Donald Duck 16 -10.9% 0.6%
Odwalla 11 +9.7% 0.4%
Dole 11 -26.3% 0.4%
Source: Information Resources Inc. Total food, drug and mass merchandise, excluding Wal-Mart for the 52 weeks ending Nov. 27, 2005.
One notable exception, however, was Mott’s Plus for Kids’ Health, a new line of fortified apple juices that rolled out last spring. “Mott’s Plus for Kids’ Health is a juice with more flavor, more essential nutrients, more kid appeal and more versatility,” says Liz Weiss, a nutrition consultant for Rye Brook, N.Y.-based Mott’s. “And since a glass counts as a fruit serving, it brings children one step closer to meeting their daily fruit serving goals.”
Mott’s Plus for Kids’ Health is fortified with 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 10 percent vitamin of A, and 10 percent of calcium. The 100 percent juice product is available in Apple Grape and Apple Punch flavors.
Juices that naturally boast a wealth of nutrients, such as pomegranate and newcomer acai, are riding a newfound wave of popularity, Vierhile says.
“[Acai] is a hot thing, a rainforest berry from Brazil, with a very high antioxidant content,” he says. “It has followed in the footsteps of POM Wonderful [pomegranate juice], which proved there is a market for high-end fruit drinks.”
One of the newest acai products is Los Angeles-based Bossa Nova Beverage Group’s Acai Juice in Original, Mango and Passionfruit flavors. The refrigerated line of 10-ounce bottles is lightly sweetened with organic agave and contains 70 percent of the RDA for vitamin A and 170 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.
Refrigerated juice sales by variety
Brand Dollar Sales (IN MILLIONS) % Change Vs. Prior Year
Apple juice $8.4 -0.2%
Blended fruit juice 210 0%
Cider 46 + 6.3%
Cocktail mixes 0.148 -3.0%
Cranberry cocktail/drink 3.7 -30.8%
Cranberry juice/cranberry juice blend 1.2 -5.2%
Fruit drink 687 +8.3%
Fruit nectar 14.8 -9.0%
Grape juice 1.9 +61.6%
Grapefruit cocktail/drink 0.960 +129.7%
Source: Information Resources Inc. Total food, drug and mass merchandise, excluding Wal-Mart for the 52 weeks ending Nov. 27, 2005.
Bottled shelf-stable juice sales by variety
Brand Dollar Sales (IN MILLIONS) % Change Vs. Prior Year
Aloe vera juice $3.4 +14.6%
Apple juice 528 +0.6%
Apricot juice 0.138 -32.8%
Cherry juice 5.3 +32.4%
Cider 74.9 -1.9%
Cranberry cocktail/juice drink 608 -2.1%
Cranberry juice/cranberry juice blend 147 -6.3%
Fruit drinks 783 -3.0%
Fruit juice blend 249 +6.6%
Fruit nectar 18 +4.9%
Source: Information Resources Inc. Total food, drug and mass merchandise, excluding Wal-Mart for the 52 weeks ending Nov. 27, 2005.
And Los Angeles-based POM Wonderful, not content to rest on its laurels, has added 8-ounce plastic bottle packaging for three of its antioxidant-rich flavors: 100% Pomegranate, POM Blueberry, and POM Cherry.
“They’ve done a splendid job of marketing [POM Wonderful],” Vierhile says­­. The fact that POM products are sold in produce sections of supermarkets, he says, highlights the fruit juice’s healthy image. “Not a lot of [juice] companies are targeting that area of the supermarket,” he adds. “It has a healthier halo when it’s purchased in the produce section — fresher, more of a pure image.”
In fact, juice products overall should continue to benefit from consumers’ focus on health and wellness, which shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. “I think juices are primed to pick up share from soft drinks,” Vierhile says. BI

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