Ingredient Spotlight: Pomegranate packs a punch
Healthy benefits of pomegranates have made the fruit a popular addition to many beverages since it first became popular in the early 2000s. In the past year, beverage companies have taken advantage of the antioxidant properties of pomegranates and incorporated the fruit into juices, smoothies, flavored waters, and sports and energy drinks. To best harness the natural health benefits of pomegranates, products contain pomegranate juice, concentrate and powder.
Revolution Tea, Phoenix, included pomegranate juice in its Revolution 3D beverage launched in 2008. The company incorporated pomegranate juice in small amounts to keep the beverage a low-calorie option, says Monica Chinichian, brand marketing manager for Revolution Tea.
“We’ve all seen the popularity of pomegranate for several years now; it’s been one of the most talked about fruits,” Chinichian says. “At Revolution, we were familiar with the antioxidant health benefits of pomegranate and we wanted those benefits in our healthy beverage, Revolution 3D.”
Pomegranate is the No. 1 seller of the five flavors of vitamin-enhanced white tea-based beverage, she says.
POM Wonderful helped kick off the superfruit trend with the introduction of its line of pomegranate juices in 2002. Its juices, teas and, most recently, iced coffees include the juice or extract from parent company Roll International’s proprietary Pom Wonderful brand of pomegranates. The company exclusively uses its own pomegranates and controls the production chain, which is an advantage for the company, says Matt Tupper, president of POM Wonderful, Los Angeles.
“Growing our own pomegranates means that we can guarantee the highest standards of quality and integrity in our products,” Tupper says. “POM follows what we call a ‘tree to bottle’ approach to our pomegranate juice, which means we ensure quality at every step â€” from growing to processing to bottling. This approach guarantees our consumers the freshest, highest quality in a 100 percent pure juice with no additives or adulteration.”
Currently, the company only produces POM Wonderful juice for its own products, but the brand has partnered with other companies when their products complement the POM Wonderful brand, such as its 2008 collaboration with Red Mango frozen yogurt chain for a Wonderful by POM Wonderful frozen yogurt variety, Tupper says.
Many products choose to incorporate pomegranate juice from concentrate for the health benefits as well as the fruit’s flavor. Notable product introductions include Ocean Spray’s line of Cranberry Pomegranate Juice Drinks, Ruby Pomegranate Juice Drink, and Cranergy’s Pomegranate Cranberry Lift variety. In addition, pomegranate played a role in Coca-Cola’s Odwalla Red Rhapsody Superfood smoothie.
One supplier of pomegranate juice products is Steinhauser, Framingham, Mass., which imports traditional and organic pomegranate juice, pomegranate juice concentrate and pomegranate powder or flakes. Its German parent company, Steinhauser Group, produces juice concentrates in four factories in both hemispheres to take advantage of seasonal cycles. Its international network of facilities have the storage and a range of shipping options to have the supply year-round, and can deliver small or large quantities of juice concentrate, according to the company. BI