Can Super-Premium Juices Keep Growing

There’s a real economic moment here for the juice category. For the past five years, the most important growth driver for juices has lay in the produce aisle, where high-end, super-premium juices like Odwalla, Naked, Pom, and Bolthouse have led a fresh, health-centered charge into the American shopping cart.

As a corollary to that growth, regular juices and juice drinks have been in decline. Nantucket Nectars, Snapple, even Tropicana and Minute Maid have been receding, first buffeted by the non-carb Atkins diet, then by citrus-crop decimating storms, finally by a rising tide of variety that has stolen their thunder.

Over the past five years, those high-end juices have grown at about 15 percent annually, while regular fruit juices have actually dropped a percentage point or two each year. The excitement from the health benefits, vibrant flavors and freshness, interesting new packaging and blended functionalities that include protein and vitamins led consumers to swallow these drinks higher price points. Shopping patterns played into those drinks’ increasing popularity, as supermarket shoppers, in particular, continued to spend more time in the produce-rich store perimeter, rather than head for the center store, home of shelf-stable products like Welch’s.

But this year, that growth might be subjected to downward financial pressure. Suddenly, the idea of a $4 12 oz. juice might not be so appealing to the coupon-clipping consumer. And those nutritional benefits touted by so many of those super-premium products are being replicated in other food and drink categories.

Nevertheless, the strongest selling point of that category overall, its seemingly endless novelty and variety, seems to be holding steady. With ingredients like starfruit, coffeeberry, mangosteen, aloe, and many others, there’s a powerful, ongoing influx of new products onto those chilled shelves on the supermarket perimeter. Who knows? Perhaps the phrase “at least you still have your health” will continue to justify shelling out to maintain it.

BRAND NEWS

Biotta

Biotta of Switzerland has announced the formation of Biotta, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary, to market and sell its line of organic vegetable and fruit juices in the United States. Biotta committed itself to organic production in 1951, many years before the enthusiasm for organic food really took hold. Since that time, Biotta has harvested its fruits and vegetables from healthy, living soil. The juices are 100% pure, contain no artificial additives and are never made from concentrates. The product line currently includes the following, with new line additions soon to be introduced for 2009: Beetroot, Bilberry, Breuss (Vegetable Blend), Carrot, Celery, Sauerkraut and Vegetable Cocktail.

Fuze

FUZE Beverage will join the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Series for 2008 and 2009 as a National Series Sponsor and bring a healthy ‘infuzion’ of positive energy to the race series and the breast cancer movement. As part of that sponsorship, FUZE’s mission of healthy hydration continues with the launch of FUZE Empower. The drink is a Pomegranate Acai Berry flavored bevearage and will be available in 18.5 fl oz. and 16.9 fl oz. pink plastic bottles. Fuze is proud to donate $650,000 to Susan G Komen for the Cure through this program.

O.N.E.

O.N.E. has launched a pair of new juices, Coffee Berry and Cashew Fruit, both of which are available in 11 oz. Tetra Paks. O.N.E. Coffee Berry is 100 percent natural and contains a similar amount of caffeine as one cup of green tea. It also is sweet thanks to a blend of fresh strawberry and Acerola purees. O.N.E. Coffee Berry retains the nutritional benefits lost in regular coffee when the beans are roasted, namely phenolic acids. Additionally, O.N.E. Cashew Fruit is a 100 percent natural, nutritional beverage with a fresh, light, and naturally sweet tropical flavor. Made from the fruit of the cashew plant, not the nut, this Brazilian fruit is naturally fat-free and packed with Vitamin C. O.N.E. Cashew Fruit also contains important nutrients including beta-carotene, Vitamins B1, B2, & B3, calcium, and iron.

Old Orchard Brands

Old Orchard Brands has introduced an interactive “Fit For Your Lifestyle” campaign for its top-selling Healthy Balance line of low-sugar fruit juice cocktails. A completely redesigned label brings calorie, carb and sugar content information prominently to the front of the bottle and an interactive health-focused website (www.healthybalance.com) encourages dialog with a registered dietician as well as peer-to-peer discussions among those with sugar restrictive diets. The effort is supported by a national ad campaign and a robust sampling program at more than 200 Juvenile Diabetes “Walk for a Cure” events across the U.S. this fall.

Star Power

Star Power is the first ever pure, premium starfruit juice. In a new initiative from the founders, Star Power has started giving complimentary cases and sponsoring events to good charities. For a recent benefit, all proceeds from cocktails went to supporting the Orphans’ Fund of 9/11. Star Power is now available at many of the more expensive retailers in and around NYC.

ALO

ALO has announced the addition of two new flavors to its line of alternative drink blends infused with real aloe vera pulp. ALO Enliven crams all the good stuff from 12 fruits and vegetables with real aloe vera pulp for an energizing, healthy drink alternative. ALO Elated combines aloe vera with brewed olive leaf tea, which is rich in anti-oxidants and a good source of energy, to provide a unique, superior drink alternative for the green tea crowd. ALO drinks are available ?in a 500mL as well as a 1.5L bottle and are shelf stable.Essential Beverages

Essential Beverages makes Alo Juice into seven flavors: Mango, Pomegranate, Kiwi, Grape, Cherry, Mixfruits, and Original. It has real bits of Aloe Vera and no added sugar. Most people know about Aloe Vera for its remarkable health-enhancing properties for external application to the skin, but Aloe Vera is also packed with Vitamins, Minerals, Enzymes, and Amino Acids to boost energy and maintain proper immune function while supporting a healthy digestive system.

Fruit 66

Developed in consultation with school nutritionists and foodservice directors from throughout the country, Fruit 66 is a sparkling juice with fewer calories, more nutrients and just as many bubbles and taste as traditional cafeteria juices and soft drinks. Fruit 66 is a patron sponsor of the School Nutrition Association and donates a portion of its proceeds to the School Nutrition Foundation to improve children’s health and nutrition. An 8 oz. can of Fruit 66 contains 95 calories. It also boasts 100 percent of the RDA of Vitamin C and 10 percent of the RDA of Calcium, Vitamin A and Folates. Fruit 66 is available four flavors – Kiwi Strawberry, Fruit Punch, Orange Tangerine and Apple Berry.

Glow Mama

Glow Mama is leading the new maternity nutrition category with a ready-to-drink natural kiwi juice. Fortified with folic acid and other essential pre and post natal vitamins, Glow Mama is approved by the American Pregnancy Association for the important job of hydrating new moms and moms-to-be. With four grams of soluble fiber per 12 oz. bottle and only 70 calories, Glow Mama uses kiwifruit juice concentrate imported from New Zealand. Glow Mama is launching in West Coast natural grocery and maternity stores.

Firefly Tonics

Firefly has created a tonic to raise the spirits. “Recharge” combines antioxidant-packed juices with herbal extracts to boost the body’s credit-rating and raise the spirits. It’s refreshing, delicious, and comes in a swanky silver bottle – because “life’s all about silver linings.” Recharge contains fruit juices (white grape, pomegranate, plum, blood orange, rosehip), with botanical extracts and natural flavourings. No added sugar, nothing artificial.

Simply Orange

Simply Orange Juice Company has launched two new premium orange juice blends, Simply Orange with Mango and Simply Orange with Pineapple. Launched August 18, both are packaged in the 59 oz. clear Simply carafe, and are available in supermarkets nationwide. Simply Orange with Mango combines orange juice with the unique sweetness of mango, while Simply Orange with Pineapple couples orange juice with luscious pineapple. The juices are never concentrated, never sweetened, and made with only natural ingredients.

NBI Juiceworks

NBI Juiceworks’ Drenchers has a new all natural 100 percent super juice, Heart Healthy. Heart Healthy has no fat, no cholesterol, no sugar or preservatives added and is fortified with key vitamins and minerals specifically designed for heart health. Each eight ounce serving of Heart Healthy has only 120 calories and contains two servings of fruits and vegetables. Available in shelf stable 64 oz. sizes, Drenchers Heart Healthy all natural 100 percent super juice contains Bodyguard, a fortification package of 15-plus essential vitamins, nutrients, amino acids, electrolytes and herbs.

Sence

SENCE Rare European Rose Nectar has launched into several international markets as well as a great many more outlets in the USA. Now found throughout Canada, France, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Poland, Scandinavia, Australia and New Zealand, SENCE will expand its operations further into Central and South America, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau by the end of Q4 2009.

Envy

Envy is an all-natural 100 percent premium fruit juice packed with a little fizz. Each can provides vitamins A,C,D and Calcium, and is all-natural. Envy is available now is a lineup of five flavors including Acai Berry, Fuji Apple, Fruit Punch, Tropical Mango, and Strawberry. These could very well be the best tasting alternative to sodas and energy drinks yet!

Uncle Matt’s

Uncle Matt’s Fresh, the organic produce “arm” of Uncle Matt’s Organic, has announced that the number of organic citrus growers and the amount of acreage dedicated to organic citrus that their company manages, is rising at a steady and healthy pace. The company is growing organic oranges, tangerines and grapefruit for its own juice brand, Uncle Matt’s Organic, along with providing organic fresh citrus for Uncle Matt’s Fresh.

First Juice

First Juice organic fruit and vegetable juice beverage is the first juice for toddlers that is significantly lower in sugar and calories than traditional juice offerings, with nothing artificial. It also comes in a convenient, reusable, spill-proof sippy-top container. It has BPA-free packaging, organic and reduced sugar attributes, and nutritional value and convenience. First Juice is currently available in two flavors: Apple+Carrot and Banana+Carrot.

Zola Acai

Zola Açaí is having a record-breaking year, selling more in the first six months of 2008 than in all of 2007. Earlier this year, Zola introduced its line of Açaí Superfruit Juices in new re-sealable and recyclable bottles. Since the introduction of the new bottle, Zola has been authorized in 10,000 stores nationwide. Zola’s authentic Brazilian recipe uses 100 percent unfiltered pulp from hand-harvested organic Açaí berries to deliver superior taste, while use of proprietary processing technology ensures maximum retention of nutrients.

Skylarhaley

Skylarhaley has unveiled the newest flavor in its award winning line of essn beverages—sparkling mango and passion fruit juice. A blend of sweet and tropical essence, the 100 percent juice drink is packed with natural flavor and contains no preservatives, additives, or artificial sweeteners. The juice fuses the taste of ripened mango and the tartness of passion fruit. essn is the nation’s first all-natural sparkling juice beverage that combines the pure essence of exotic fruits with a light effervescence.

Embodi

Embodi, the first natural, non-alcoholic juice blend beverage to provide the health benefits of red wine, becomes available nationwide in the natural and specialty grocery channels this month. Originally introduced in Whole Foods Market stores nationally in June 2008, Embodi has expanded its distribution and will also be available in Mrs. Green’s Natural Market, Fairway Market, and Westerly Natural Market amongst many other natural and specialty grocery stores. Embodi beverages are made from a specially developed grape pomace extract made from the skins, seeds, and stems of red wine grapes. This extract is combined with organic juices and provides Embodi with the full-spectrum of red wine’s antioxidants – and resulting health benefits – without the side effects of alcohol.

Orchid Island

Cook’s Illustrated, the nation’s prestigious publication dedicated to evaluating cooking products, recently completed a thorough taste test of five nationally recognized brands and one family owned brand of orange juice against freshly squeezed juice made from oranges in its test kitchen. The results – Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company’s Gourmet Pasteurized Orange Juice beat the competition hands down and was rated the best tasting. The magazine conducted taste tests and independent laboratory tests to judge the juice closest to fresh squeezed orange juice. Cook’s Illustrated testers calculated, buying and squeezing oranges at home made the cost 23 cents per ounce – about three times the price of the winning Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company’s juice.

Sambazon

Sambazon is expanding its award winning line of single serve Açaí juices by offering family sized versions of their best selling skus. The convenient 32 oz. bottles come in two great tasting flavors: “Original Blend” (Açaí lightly sweetened with pure agave) ?and “Antioxidant Trinity” (Açaí with ?blueberry and pomegranate for a triple antioxidant boost).

Odwalla

As part of its ongoing commitment to consumers and to Mother Earth, Odwalla kicked off a unique partnership this summer with state parks in select markets across the country. Through the Odwalla Plant a Tree program, outdoor enthusiasts were invited to visit parkvisitor.com and donate trees to their preferred state. More than 60,000 trees will be planted through the 2008 program. Due to its overwhelming success, the Plant a Tree program will be expanded in 2009.

Genesis

Genesis BOOST has launched a new line of refrigerated, ready-to-drink superfruit juices to meet the growing demands from health conscious consumers everywhere. The blended exotic fruit juices, which are all-natural, with no preservatives, added sugar or sweeteners, are made of superfruits grown on wild-harvested farms in the Amazon Rainforest, French Polynesia, Southeast Asia and other pristine regions around the world. BOOST Superfruit Juices come in a 12 oz. glass bottle and are available in four blended varieties: Beauty Boost, Youth Boost, Happy Boost, and Inner Boost.