As of September 2017, natural and organic food and beverage sales in the United States reached $40.05 billion, an increase from $37.43 billion in 2016, according to data from New York-based Statista Inc. Once a niche market with few players, organic beverages are growing almost exponentially. As consumer demands shift toward natural and organic products, companies that were ahead of the trend, like San Francisco-based Purity Organic LLC, have benefited from this strategic positioning.
“Purity Organic was born out of an organic produce company in 2003,” explains Bob Nakasone, chief executive officer of Purity Organic. “An early pioneer in organic produce, our founder Greg Holtzman was eager to create more demand for organic produce and began bottling 100 percent organic apple juice, which was our very first SKU. And while 100 percent organic apple juice remains a favorite in our portfolio, we’ve innovated to keep up with shifting consumer tastes and still gain inspiration from the organic farmers we partner with to help us cultivate delicious organic beverages.”
While growing its portfolio, Purity Organic also has significantly grown its sales.
“We’ve continued to drive strong double-digit [compound annual growth rate] (CAGR) over the past five years despite recently pruning a portfolio that had gotten too SKU heavy, but that will allow us to be more focused going forward,” Nakasone says.
With a goal to “inspire organic living through food and beverage,” the company has expanded its portfolio to offer consumers a wide selection of organic products spanning a variety of beverage categories while offering healthier options catering to consumer demand, Nakasone explains.
“Purity Organic has always been a platform brand — again, the juice was born out of an organic produce business — and we have learned that the brand has consumer permissibility to play in many categories,” he says. “Adjacent beverage categories were a place we could go quickly with the brand while also leveraging existing functional competencies.”
Purity Organic currently offers five lines of organic beverages: Sparkling, Superjuice, Juice, Tea and Coconut Water. Within the Juice line, Strawberry Paradise and Orange Mango are the top selling SKUs, while Kale dominates its Superjuice lineup. The company’s Pure Coconut Water is a strong performer within the overall portfolio as well, Nakasone says.
The company’s most recent innovation, Purity Organic Sparkling, launched in August 2017. Purity Organic Sparkling is comprised of 15 percent organic juice blended with sparkling water. It is offered in Watermelon, Lemon, Mandarin Orange and Grapefruit flavors, which all contain 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, with no added sugar and between 20 and 30 calories in each 12-ounce can.
“There are many sparkling waters in the market, but we saw an opportunity to innovate within the category,” Nakasone explains. “Sparkling drinks are either made of sparkling water with a drop of fruit flavor [and] little taste, [or] on the other spectrum there’s a lot of flavor [and] that’s driven by a lot of sugar. Given our competitive advantage of our organic supply chain, we’re positioned to execute a product that would fill that gap.
“Consumer feedback has exceeded our expectations,” he adds. “People really love the balance of the flavor and amount of sugar and calories.”
Making the sale
No matter which category it enters, Purity Organic promises consumers that its products always will contain organic produce and never will compromise on taste, says Bernadette Aguirre, director of marketing. Understanding that taste is king, the company places an emphasis on sampling within its marketing plan, she adds.
“Organic is still a top consideration point for consumers in food and beverage. It’s also an attribute that consumers still don’t feel they find enough when seeking options, so it remains a big advantage for us,” she explains. “At the same time, organic is not quite as special as it once was, and so we’ve continued to evolve both our innovation and our consumer messaging to tap into deeper consumer connections and functional benefits.”
The company also focuses on breaking through the noise of crowded beverage shelves with its packaging designs, which have evolved throughout the years, Aguirre says. All of Purity Organic’s products feature a clean and simple label, highlighting the produce featured within the package on white background, she adds.
“Our playful illustrations and fruit design on packaging, especially in our classic Juice and new Sparkling line, is how consumers best recognize us,” she says. “We’ve stayed consistent with this brand design, which has evolved over the years, but the elements remain consistent and are undeniably a part of Purity Organic’s look and feel.”
Moving forward, consumers can expect to see a refreshed brand with a stronger eCommerce presence, Aguirre says. BI