Step One: Plant seeds. Step Two: Grow fruit. Step Three: Bottle the juice. If only the juice and juice drink categories were that simple. Juice and juice drinks expand their varieties every year, and this year companies added more antioxidants, vitamins and flavor extensions to their lines.
Refrigerated juice and juice drinks earned more in dollar sales than shelf-stable juice varieties. According to Information Resources Inc., Chicago, the refrigerated category profited with $4.5 billion, up 2.4 percent for the year ending Nov. 2, 2008, in grocery, drug and mass merchandise outlets, excluding Wal-Mart. Shelf-stable juices earned $3.8 billion, up a little less than a percent during the same period. Under the refrigerated juice category, orange juice remained the most popular offering with $2.7 billion in sales, even though the number fell 2.6 percent from the year prior.
Refrigerated orange juice brands in IRI’s Top 10 include: Tropicana Pure Premium, Simply Orange, Minute Maid Premium and Florida’s Natural. Tropicana Pure Premium led category sales with $989.2 million through the measured channels.
Juice blends are popular in orange juice, and can be used as a method to expand existing lines and differentiate brands, says an April 2008 Euromonitor International report on Fruit and Vegetable Juice in the United States.
Juice-makers used that fact to their advantage this year. Tropicana Products added Tropicana Pure Valencia, packaged in a 54-ounce slim PET bottle. The product contains pasteurized Valencia orange juice, mango puree and natural flavors. Tropicana Pure Valencia is available in Valencia with Mango, Valencia with Pulp and Tropicana Pure Valencia. The Chicago-based division of PepsiCo also repackaged its Tropicana Pure Premium line in an 89-ounce container with easy-pour pitcher.
Known for its carafe-shaped bottles, Simply Orange, part of Coca-Cola Co.’s Minute Maid division, also added some new varieties to its orange juice products. Simply Orange with Mango and Simply Orange with Pineapple hit shelves last year, both packaged in 59-ounce clear plastic carafes.
According to IRI, Simply Orange refrigerated orange juice earned $366.7 million for the year ending Nov. 2, up 22.9 percent. Simply Orange is the only brand in the top five refrigerated orange juice brands to increase its sales.
Minute Maid released Minute Maid Original Orange Juice with the 2008 Bejing Olympic logo on its 64-ounce carton. Minute Maid was the official beverage sponsor of the U.S. Olympics team.
With the environment in mind, Noble Juices, Winter Haven, Fla., launched Blood Orange Juice in a plant-based bottle, made from 100 percent PLA plastic. The bottle is designed to be recyclable, compostable or incinerated, the company says.
Healthy and smooth
In addition to new flavor variants, many companies released more products with “good-for-you” ingredients such as probiotics, protein and more natural flavors. PepsiCo’s Naked Juice, Azuza, Calif., added Naked Very Berry to its probiotic line of juice smoothies. Very Berry offers a blend of blueberry, apple and bananas. The probiotic line contains live, active cultures, which are recognized for their digestive and immune health benefits. The company also introduced Protein Zone Banana Chocolate to its Protein Zone juice smoothies. A 15-ounce bottle contains 30 grams of soy and whey protein, one banana, 12 cocoa beans, white grapes and a hint of coconut.
In addition, Naked Juice expanded its line of products with Naked Juice Bare Breeze in Watermelon Chill and Peach Mangosteen Bliss flavors. The products contain three servings of fruit and vitamins C, B6 and B12. Bare Breeze Watermelon Chill and Bare Breeze Peach Mangosteen are packaged in 15.2-ounce bottles.
Another fruit drink that launched in 2008 is GoodBelly, from Boulder, Colo.-based Nextfoods, a beverage that contains probiotics and antioxidant-rich fruit. GoodBelly is dairy-free, soy-free, wheat-free and vegan, and comes available in GoodBelly Probiotic Fruit Drink and GoodBelly Multi Probiotic Fruit Drink flavors. The Multi version carries a concentration of 20 billion live and active probiotic cultures, minerals and vitamins. Although packaged smoothies remain a small portion of overall juice sales, the category has grown in popularity during the past few years. Refrigerated juice and drink smoothies gained 4.5 percent in dollar sales, with $162.9 million for the year ending Nov. 2, according to IRI.
Odwalla, Half Moon Bay, Calif., a division of Coca-Cola Co., released several new flavors last year including Tangerine Tangelo Juice, which is a blend of tangerine and tangelo. Odwalla Serious Focus also was introduced, and is designed to increase mental sharpness. The beverage contains ginseng, which enhances awareness and promotes vitality, the company says. The blend of apple, raspberry, cherry and mango juices contains caffeine derived from green tea.
Known for its smoothies in retail stores, Jamba Juice and Nestle USA, Glendale, Calif., launched Jamba Smoothies in 12.5-ounce bottles. Jamba Smoothies are available in Strawberry Wild with Energy Boost, Orange Dream with Immunity, Orange Strawberry Banana with Protein Boost and Berry Banana with Heart Healthy Boost. Orange Strawberry Banana with Protein Boost promotes healthy cell growth, maintenance and reproduction, the company says. Each of the smoothies contain 35 percent juice and 8 grams of protein.
Juices all around
Although orange juice is the category leader for refrigerated juice drinks, and smoothies are increasingly popular with the health-conscious consumer, other juice varieties, such as lemonade, cashew juice and cherry juice are appearing as well.
Camden, N.J.-based Campbell’s added to its V8 V-Fusion line with V8 V-Fusion Acai Mixed Berry Juice, which contains 100 percent juice, a serving of vegetables and a serving of fruit. The product is naturally flavored and is packaged in 46- and 8-ounce containers.
Apple & Eve, Roslyn, N.Y., launched Fruitables, a 100 percent fruit and vegetable blend. Fruitables deliver two servings of fruit and vegetables in each 8-ounce serving. The product contains antioxidant, vitamins A and C, as well as beta carotene. Fruitables are packaged in 46- and 64-ounce bottles and are available in Orange Passion and Strawberry Mango flavors.
Concord, Mass.-based Welch’s introduced Welch’s White Grape Cherry Juice, a three-juice blend from concentrate. White Grape Cherry Juice is package in a 96-ounce bottle and contains no added sugar. White Grape Mango Juice and White Grape Pomegranate also are available.
Minute Maid launched Pomegranate Lemonade, a blend of lemon and pomegranate juice from concentrate and other ingredients. Pomegranate Lemonade is a source of antioxidants, and vitamins C and E, the company says. The product is packaged in a 59-ounce bottle.
With new lemonade introductions, Tropicana released a line of 100 percent natural lemonade under the Coastal Groves brand name. The lemonades are offered in three flavors – Original Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade and Peach Lemonade – and are available in 64-ounce cartons. Original Lemonade flavor also is available in a 12-ounce single-serve size.
NBI Juiceworks, Orlando, Fla., introduced many juice products last year with its Drenchers and Sun Shower lines. Drenchers 100 percent Super Juice is available in five flavors and each 8-ounce serving provides two servings of fruit and/or vegetables. The company released Sun Shower Fruit ‘N Yogurt Smoothies. Available in Strawberry Banana, Berry Blast, Orange Passion and Pina Colada, the smoothies contain vitamins, amino acids, electrolytes and herbs. Sun Shower Light ‘N Healthy Super Juice beverages became available in 64-ounce containers. The flavors include Stamina (Grape Apple), Defense (Fruit & Veggie Berry), Heart Healthy (Tropical Passion), Revitalize (Apple Kiwi Mango) and Strength (Orange Crème).
A little off the typical juice path, O.N.E. World Enterprises, Los Angeles, added two new products to its line, O.N.E. Cashew Juice and O.N.E. Coffee Berry Juice. O.N.E. Cashew Juice is made from the fruit of the cashew plant and is non-allergenic. The fruit is fat-free and contains vitamins C and A, calcium and iron. O.N.E. Coffee Berry Juice carries a similar amount of caffeine as a cup of green tea, the company says. The juice is a blend of strawberry puree, acerola, whole coffee berry, natural flavors and organic evaporated cane juice.
Beverage Innovations Inc., Delray Beach, Fla., released a product that combines both juice and tea ingredients. Venga Functional Infusions, a non-carbonated beverage, is made from fruit juices, teas, vitamins and nutrient-enhanced water. The products are available in Brainstorm, which includes ginkgo biloba, ginseng root, and vitamins A, D, B6, B9 and B12; Calorie Burn, which contains L-carnitine, garcinia cambogia rind and caffeine, to increase metabolism and burn fat; Health & Zen, where aloe vera was added as well as vitamins A, E, C, B3, B6, B9 and B12. Additional flavors include Rehydrate, which adds orange, passion fruit and mango with aloe vera for “body regeneration”; Daily Dose, blends vitamins A, B3, B6, B9, B12, B5 and E with pink guava juice, passion fruit juice, low-fat skim milk, pear juice and rooibos tea; and Energize, an array of yerba maté, guarana, caffeine, niacin and panax ginseng to boost metabolism.
Energy Juices and drinks for kids
Some juice companies dipped into the energy drink category with juice formulations for that extra boost. Odwalla Serious Energy Tropical Energy Juice Drink is a 45 percent pineapple, mango, guava and passion fruit juice nectar with green tea extract, ginseng and vitamins. The 450-ml. bottle also contains guarana seed extract.
Ocean Spray, Lakeville, Mass., launched Cranergy Energy Juice Drink, which combines green tea extract, five B vitamins and vitamin C, and contains 35 calories per 8-ounce serving. Packaged in 46-ounce plastic bottles or 12-ounce four-packs, Cranergy is available in Cranergy Lift and Raspberry Cranergy Life.
Many companies expanded their juice lines to include kid-appropriate beverages. Minute Maid added Minute Maid Kids + 100% Apple Juice to its line this month. Made from 100 percent juice, the product provides children with essential nutrients, the company says. Each serving contains calcium and vitamins A, C and E. Available in 64-ounce cartons, Minute Maid Kids + 100% Apple Juice joins Minute Maid Kids + 100% Orange Juice.
“Fruit juice can be an important part of a child’s diet, and can help provide the nutrients necessary for healthy growth,” says Mike Saint John, general manager, Minute Maid Business Unit.
First Juice Inc., Mt. Freedom, N.J., created an organic fruit and vegetable juice beverage of the same name for first-time juice drinkers. First Juice is designed to be lower in sugar, specifically for kids 30 months to age six. The product contains 12 grams of sugar and 25 calories per 8-ounce serving, and the company says First Juice is the right amount of flavor for developing taste buds. First Juice also is fortified with calcium and vitamins A, C and D.
Another company that opted for characters on its kid’s juice is Symrna, Ga.-based In Zone Brand Inc. The company’s TummyTickler juice is for toddlers, and the 4-ounce package is a “kid-grip” plastic bottle with a reusable character topper, the company says. The topper has a spill-proof valve and features characters from companies such as Disney and Scholastic. TummyTickler 8+1 multipack features eight 4-ounce servings of 100 percent apple juice, with no added sugar. BI