Carb-counters turn juice sales sour

The juice segment and the American consumer are locked in a battle of wills. Carb-conscious dieters are shunning juice for the sake of their diets, and juice manufacturers are clamoring to find a way to convince them juices are still a healthy part of a well-rounded diet.
This year, it seems the juice manufacturers are losing: total sales for refrigerated juices and juice drinks were down 2 percent, frozen juices fell more than 13 percent, concentrates tumbled 22 percent, and aseptic and canned juices also took a hit. In fact, the only area that offered a glimmer of optimism was shelf-stable bottled juices, which experienced a 1.45 percent increase in dollar sales, according to Information Resources Inc., Chicago.
Fiscal woes aside, the past year has seen a number of new juices make a splash. One of the most innovative trends to impact the juice market has been the introduction of white cranberry juice products. A less tart, non-staining version of the traditional red cranberry, white cranberries are opening up new markets for cranberry farmers, who are able to harvest two crops per season instead of just one. Companies such as R.W. Knudsen and Ocean Spray are enjoying the white cranberry craze, marketing both white cranberry juice and white cranberry juice blends.
Health-conscious beverages were also on the forefront. Last October, Minute Maid added to its juice portfolio with Heart Wise, an orange juice containing plant sterols to help lower cholesterol. Minute Maid also launched a line of fruit-based aguas frescas beverages in Texas called Minute Maid MiFruta. Aguas frescas are traditional Latin beverages, typically flavored with fruits native to Latin America. Chilled 64-ounce flavors include Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus), Agua de Mango Naranja (Mango Orange), Agua de Pina (Pineapple) and Fresa (Strawberry).
"Minute Maid MiFruta was created to provide consumers with a great tasting, ready-to-drink line of aguas frescas fruit beverages under the trusted Minute Maid brand," says Brand Manager Alex Baez. "Currently, most aguas frescas are homemade, available in a limited number of restaurants, or found in a powder or concentrate form. Consumers have told us it's a natural fit to expect these products from Minute Maid, given our heritage for high-quality, great-tasting fruit juices and drinks."
The Texas launch of Minute Maid MiFruta follows the successful debut of Minute Maid Limonada (Limeade). According to the company, Minute Maid consumer research has suggested that, like Limonada, MiFruta will have strong appeal to both Hispanics and non-Hispanics, so Minute Maid MiFruta will feature bilingual packaging and targeted media and consumer promotions.

In response to the growing number of low-carb dieters, Old Orchard Brands, Sparta, Mich., launched a new addition to its existing line of Low Carb juices — Light Grape Juice. The grape juice, launched in January, joins five Old Orchard Light products — Apple, Apple Kiwi Strawberry, Apple Cranberry and Apple Raspberry — that have 75 percent less sugar, carbohydrates and calories compared to other fruit juices.

Refrigerated juice sales

BRAND DOLLAR sales % change
prior year
Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice
Minute Maid Premium Orange Juice
Private Label Orange Juice
Florida’s Natural Orange Juice
Sunny Delight
Dole Blended Fruit Juice
Tampico Fruit Drink
Simply Orange Orange Juice
Minute Maid Premium Fruit Drink
Tropicana Pure Premium Blended Fruit Juice
Category total

Source: Information Resources Inc. Total food, drug and mass merchandise (excluding Wal-Mart) for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 28, 2003.

Frozen juice sales
% change vs.
prior year
Private Label Orange Juice Concentrate
Minute Maid Premium Orange Juice Concentrate
Minute Maid Premium Lemonade Limeade Concentrate
Bacardi Cocktail Mixes
Welch’s Drink Cocktail Concentrate
Minute Maid Orange Juice Concentrate
Private Label Lemonade Limeade Concentrate
Welch’s Grape Juice Concentrate
Private Label Drink Cocktail Concentrate
Private Label Apple Juice Concentrate
Category total

Source: Information Resources Inc. Total food, drug and mass merchandise (excluding Wal-Mart) for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 28, 2003.


"There is a growing trend in the food and beverage industry toward offering low-carb products," said Michael McDonald, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. "Eating nutritiously and maintaining a healthy weight is important, and many people are pursuing popular diets like the Atkins Diet, The Zone or the South Beach Diet. Old Orchard Light fruit juices will provide those dieters, and the rest of us, with a great way to get essential vitamins while providing a guilt-free treat."
The Old Orchard Light juice cocktails are 25-30 percent juice, preservative free and sweetened with Splenda. In addition, the juices are colored using the aronia berry, which is said to contain more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin C and high antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Welch’s also unveiled three new additions to its 100% White grape juice line, adding White Grape Cherry, White Grape Strawberry and White Grape Berry late last fall.  

Bottled juice sales
% change vs.
prior year
Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail/Juice Drink
Private Label Apple Juice
Libby’s Juicy Juice Fruit Juice Blend
Welch’s Grape Juice
Private Label Cranberry Cocktail Juice Drink
Hawaiian Punch Juice Drinks
V8 Tomato Vegetable Juice Cocktail
Mott’s Apple Juice
Tree Top Apple Juice
Category Total

Source: Information Resources Inc. Total food, drug and mass merchandise (excluding Wal-Mart) for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 28, 2003.


Thesunshinestate deals with a dark cloud

Florida is synonymous with orange juice but if a proposed tariff repeal on imported O.J. occurs, the Sunshine State’s primary cash crop industry may find itself in a fiscal tailspin. Already enduring the lowest prices for its product in 60 years, the citrus industry faces the possibility that the U.S. Congress may approve a 34-nation Free Trade Area of the Americas pact, which could end the 29-cent-a- gallon tax on orange juice concentrate that low-labor cost exporters like Brazil must pay.
In an interview with Florida’s Bradenton Herald, Ed Price, a state senator from 1958 to 1966 and former chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission, agreed the tariff is crucial to the survival of the Florida citrus industry. "I’m extraordinarily anxious that we keep the tariff in place," he said. "It costs us five times as much to produce the fruit and get it in the house as it does in Brazil. No matter what the labor cost, it is cheaper in Brazil. It’s difficult to compete with that sort of thing."

To raise awareness, Florida citrus industry officials mounted a counterattack on efforts to repeal the tariff, pledging to spend $7 million in the fight using cash obtained via a voluntary 1-cent tax on each box of oranges, said George Austin, chairman of the Florida Citrus Mutual tariff oversight committee. The money has been used to hire legal representation and create a statewide media campaign encouraging Floridians to learn how the state economy could be impacted if the tariff were repealed.

Snapple and NYC seal the deal

Last fall, Snapple Beverage Group, White Plains, N.Y., landed an important agreement with the city of New York that stipulates all New York City schools will exclusively sell Cadbury Schweppes’ range of Snapple fruit juices and water in vending machines. As part of the five-year deal, Cadbury Schweppes will invest in the city’s school playgrounds, sports and physical activity programs. Snapple will also redirect some of its marketing spending to promote New York City good-living messages.
"New York is Snapple’s backyard and is our most developed market," says Steven Jarmon, vice president of partner marketing and community ventures. "We, as a company, are always interested in supporting events, programs and initiatives that are important to the communities in which we serve.  
"The chance to work with NYC schools is extraordinary for us.  First, we were able to make a new product, 100% Juiced! to meet the Department of Education’s strict new guidelines," he continues. "We are also offering our spring water, Snap2O. But, what we like best about the arrangement is that we are tied into the Public School Athletic League. We are very supportive of funding that promotes physical activity and fitness since so many kids are leading more sedentary lifestyles."