Although cold temperatures often are a challenge for citrus crops, the practice of cold-pressing juices is helping Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co. continue to bring fresh, functional juices to market. Earlier this year, the Fort Pierce, Fla.-based company expanded its portfolio with the launch of its Holistic Juices, a line of cold-pressed juices that deliver fresh tastes plus health and wellness benefits.
“Many of our customers have asked us for high-pressure processing (HPP) — also known as cold-pressed — juices, and [HPP] is a process that appeals to a large segment of the juice-drinking market,” explains Natalie Sexton, the company’s namesake and vice president of marketing. She adds that both the company’s gourmet pasteurization process and its new cold-pressed method allow the beverage-maker to neutralize harmful bacteria and meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration food safety standards without using high-heat pasteurization or preservatives, which she says can adversely affect the quality and taste of the juices.
The new beverage line and processing style seem to be a natural fit for the company. “Being a 30-year-old juice company, we were poised and positioned to expand our family of juices fairly nimbly,” Sexton explains. “Quite honestly, we didn’t have to make any major investments other than some new presses, packaging and the unique ingredients that our holistic juices called for.”
Plus, the new production method aligns with the company’s commitment to minimally processed products. “We believe the consumer deserves wholesome products that remain free from preservatives, added sugars, natural flavorings and artificial ingredients,” Sexton says. “Juice and food should remain simple and in its purest form.”
Marygrace Sexton, Natalie Sexton’s mother and the founder of Natalie’s, originally started her beverage-making venture to produce fresh, clean-label juice for her family using citrus fruits from the family’s groves in Florida. Her efforts soon blossomed into a family operated, women-owned business that supplies high-quality, minimally processed juice to a wider market.
Another key element of maintaining the integrity of each ingredient is limiting the number of ingredients included in the beverage, Natalie Sexton says. All of Natalie’s beverages include five or fewer ingredients, and five of its traditional juices contain only one ingredient each. Additionally, many of Natalie’s juices are squeezed fresh in small batches using hand-picked fruits and vegetables from Florida farmers or American growers.
The new Holistic Juices blend the company’s traditional juices with functional botanicals, traditional spices and superfood ingredients. The line’s Purify variety is made from blood orange, grapefruit, dandelion and ginger and is formulated to help improve digestion and reduce inflammation. Its Relax beverage features orange, pineapple, chamomile and passion flower to help reduce anxiety and promote calming effects. Lastly, the Resilient option mixes blood orange with elderberry, turmeric, black pepper and ginger to help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
“We find that today’s consumers are relying more on natural foods to play an important role in their overall health strategies,” Sexton says. “We hand selected ingredients we knew could help provide functional benefits.”
Sexton explains that the company spent six months formulating the new beverages, which is longer than the company’s usual development cycle, because the beverage-maker had to find sources for the new ingredients. The company ultimately decided to source the ingredients for the Holistic Juices line from Florida, Asia and Sicily. “Now that we are familiar with the process and have streamlined development, future innovation will come about much faster,” Sexton adds. She says the company plans to add three new varieties to the Holistic Juices line in the future.
Natalie’s cold-pressed line is just the latest in a slew of new beverage launches throughout the past couple of years. In 2018, Natalie’s added new lemonades and brewed teas in Matcha Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, Peach Green Tea and Pomegranate White Tea varieties in response to consumer demand.
Like their juice counterparts, the lemonades and teas each contain four or fewer ingredients and are free from concentrates, artificial flavors and preservatives.
In 2017, Natalie’s forayed into the carrot juice market with the release of Carrot Ginger, which blends the named ingredients with apple, turmeric and a splash of lemon. “At the time, few brands were producing a pure and fresh carrot juice,” Sexton says. “The original intention was to source and juice our own carrots. … As always, we remain the go-to source for a clean, authentic option.”
Looking ahead, the company is planning to continue to expand its product lines and launch new PET packaging. Natalie’s juices are available at select retailers in 32 states across the United States and more than 40 different countries around the world. BI