Frutzzo LLC: Antioxidant Driven
By ELIZABETH FUHRMAN
In a world with a variety of juice options, how does a company stand out? Frutzzo LLC, Alpine, Utah, says it gets attention because it won’t put any product on the market that isn’t high in antioxidants.
“Our focus with our juices is to offer the highest antioxidant juices that we can,” says Terry Xanthos, president and co-founder of Frutzzo. “We noticed that other companies always had one or two juices that are focused on antioxidants, but we felt that’s where we needed to be. Eight years later, we see that everybody is focused on antioxidants, no matter what it is.”
The company that carries a line of organic and natural 100 percent pomegranate juices began in 1997 as a juice bar company with a group of stores throughout Minnesota. In 1999, the family-owned company decided to start bottling a few of its most popular smoothies from its menu. From the line of seven juice smoothies came Frutzzo’s first juice, Pomegranate Cherry, which the company launched in 2002.
Xanthos, whose father is from Greece and his mother from Brazil, took to pomegranate because he observed the popularity of the superfruit in Greece when he visited family. Because of Xanthos’s Brazilian ancestry, the president also felt drawn to acai, and became one of the first companies to import acai from Brazil.
“We were fortunate to jump on the two biggest superfruits,” Xanthos says.
After the launch of Pom Wonderful and the increased demand for pomegranate juices, Frutzzo in 2003 set aside its smoothie line and expanded its pomegranate juice line to five single-serve juices: 100 percent Pomegranate, Pomegranate Blueberry, Pomegranate Raspberry, Pomegranate Cherry and Pomegranate Acai.
A year later, the company released the first organic 100 percent Pomegranate Juice, it says. Frutzzo now offers seven USDA-certified organic juices, including single-serve bottles of Pomegranate Blueberry, Pomegranate Raspberry, Pomegranate Passion Fruit and Pomegranate Acai, and two 2-liter options.
Currently, the company’s sales are split between its organic and natural lines. “Most people would say 20 percent of their product line sales come from organic, but we have a 50/50 focus on organics,” Xanthos says. “Now, there are like 7,000 products that have pomegranate in them, but we remain one of the few organic pomegranate juice options.”
Small fish, big pond
Frutzzo began as and still is a small business, Xanthos says. But competing with Pom Wonderful drove Frutzzo to improve its packaging.
“Our product was being placed next to it, and we always felt that it had the best bottle in the industry,” Xanthos says. “We felt like we needed to do everything that we could do to get to that level.”
Xanthos contacted his brother George Xanthos, who works as a designer for Nike Inc., to design a package that was going to be as high quality as the juice inside. In October 2006, Frutzzo launched a 12-ounce contoured glass bottle decorated with pastel-colored applied ceramic labeling that also features the Frutzzo name and logo embossed on the bottle. After going through eight bottle changes in the line’s lifecycle, the Frutzzo-designed glass bottle won a 2007 Clear Choice Award for best Organic Beverage from the Glass Packaging Institute. The award-winning bottle marks the first time the company designed its own bottle. Frutzzo chose glass because it believes that the material has a perception of quality.
“We decided to go to glass mainly because we felt like we wanted to have a sustainable package, but No. 2, we wanted our product to be as protected as possible,” Xanthos explains. “Because there is no air coming into the bottle and oxidizing the juice, it’s very hard to have the juice change in taste.
“No. 3 was preservation of antioxidants,” he continues. “We felt that if we were in a glass bottle, then our antioxidants would stay at the highest levels.”
Frutzzo isn’t stopping with packaging innovations as a way to reach consumers. Frutzzo is targeted at women between the ages of 16 and 60, but attracts health-conscious consumers of both genders. With the road paved in the superjuice category, consumers today are looking for additional high-antioxidant juices, much more than when Frutzzo launched its juices just four years before, Xanthos says.
Hence the launch in September of Frutzzo Yumberry juice and juice blends that are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients. The yumberry is a sub-tropical fruit that is rich in oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), antioxidants that helps boost the immune system, protect the body against internal and environmental stresses and defend against cardiovascular and other degenerative diseases and premature aging, Frutzzo says. OPCs have been shown to lower blood pressure, help lower LDL cholesterol levels and increase strength and elasticity of blood vessels while slowing down the collapse of collagen, which keeps skin firm and wrinkle free, the company says.
The ruby-colored 100 percent juices also are available in natural and organic varieties. The natural offerings are 100 percent Yumberry, Yumberry Pomegranate, Yumberry Blueberry and Yumberry Cherry, and the three organic options are 100 percent Yumberry, Yumberry Pomegranate and Yumberry Blueberry.
Packaged in the same company-designed 12-ounce glass bottles, Yumberry’s organic line appears in a similar design and ceramic labeling as the Frutzzo Organic Pomegranate line. To differentiate the Yumberry natural line, the company developed a shrink-sleeve label to go over the bottle. The label is clear in the middle to display the juice. The natural Frutzzo Pomegranate line is going to switch to this package as well, Xanthos says. “We felt like we needed to make a change on the natural side,” he explains.
Xanthos says he is highly optimistic about yumberry’s benefits and marketing potential. “I got really excited about the name of the fruit,” he says.
The company has contracts for 80 percent of the world’s supply of yumberry. “The reason that we did that is because we’re going to do our best to introduce the line and we want to make sure we have enough supply to accommodate all of our customers,” he says. Frutzzo plans to heavily promote Yumberry in 2008.
In keeping with its superjuice and high antioxidant focus, Frutzzo plans to introduce more natural and organic superjuices next year, including more acai products, mangosteen and goji offerings, and new superfruits from Brazil that haven’t been released in the United States yet. Frutzzo also plans to expand into Europe and Japan in 2008.
“We’re going to be a super superjuice company,” Xanthos says.