Category Report: Juice

PREMIUM JUICES STILL HARVEST PROFITS

WHILE A RISING TIDE LIFTS all boats, it appears that the doldrums don’t necessarily suck them all in. Take premium juice brands, for example, which have shown surprising elasticity during a period of major economic decline.

In fact, most major refrigerated juices, which had gone through major gains in 2008, managed to hold onto them in 2009 – and this despite some major fiascos, such as the abruptly-canceled rebranding of PepsiCo’s Tropicana. The entire category, one which represents some of the priciest items, dollar-per-ounce, in the beverage spectrum, was only off a fraction of a percentage point, according to the retail information service A.C. Nielsen.

So how has the category managed to retain its growth at a time when value considerations have been of paramount importance to shoppers? There are four key reasons:

1. TRENDINESS. Hot products like wonder-berry acai continue to permeate the heartland, where brands like Sambazon, Bom Dia, and even Bossa Nova (recently acquired by roll-up specialist Beverage Holdings Inc.) while new to many consumers, but continue to grab devoted adherents on both coasts and hang onto them. Despite the economic downturn, these ingredients are still hot.

2. VITALITY. No category continues to offer more consistent product innovation in alignment with consumer need states, from the addition of protein and caffeine to the incorporation of new and current flavor profiles by large brands like Naked, Bolthouse and Odwalla.

3. POSITIONING. Premium juices, whether in the produce section or in the dairy aisle, are in prime shopping position and continue to provide strong margins compared to the other items on the shelves next to them. And the channels they have been strong in, like Whole Foods and natural food sections in supermarkets, remain strong distribution pathways.

4. VARIETY. The “Superfruits” just keep on coming. As one brand starts to fade in popularity – pomegranate powerhouse POM is down this year, for example – other kinds of products start to come into vogue, from goji berries and mangosteen to the more mainstream blackcurrant and cherry juice.

So if the juice category was impervious to the housing crisis, how big can it get? Sadly, it appears the answer could be “not much.” That’s because the popularity of the shelves that worked so well for the category could also limit it: those produce and cooler shelves are among the most valuable in the store: to push their limits further and get rid of, say, lettuce in the produce aisle or 2 percent milk wouldn’t work. Possible expansion might lie in secondary placement, of course; many of these products already thrive at high-end cafes. And for retailers, margins can remain high through skillful rotation of hot brands.

Another possible bump in the road? Private label. One major manufacturer recently signed a deal to make high-end juice blends under Costco’s Kirkland Pride label. Given the way store brands have come to evoke quality, it doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch that consumers might want to get their acai/goji/mango fix from a nicely dressed up private label package.

Still, it’s nice to know that at the very high end, there’s something with staying power not labeled “Monster.”

BRAND NEWS

R. W. Knudsen. R.W. Knudsen Family has a new line of 8 oz. single-serving organic juices. Perfect for grocers, restaurants, hotels and cruise ships looking for nutritious beverages, the line includes six organic flavors — Orange, Cranberry, Concord Grape, Pomegranate, Apple and Very Veggie — offering caterers and resort managers a convenient, portable solution.

Minute Maid. The newest addition to the Minute Maid Enhanced line of chilled juice drinks, Minute Maid Strawberry Kiwi flavored juice drink, combines both Yerba Maté and real fruit juice to provide consumers with a delicious natural energy boost. Available in supermarkets and other retailers nationwide beginning in August, Minute Maid Strawberry Kiwi is the brand’s first offering of the popular, great-tasting strawberry and kiwi flavor combination. The new product combines both Yerba Maté and real fruit juice to provide a natural lift in energy.

Old Orchard. Old Orchard Brands has bolstered its Healthy Balance line of “Fit for Your Lifestyle” reduced-sugar juices with the addition of an acai berry blend that features just 29 calories per eight ounces. Healthy Balance Pomegranate Blueberry Acai is available now at major grocery stores nationwide in 64 oz. bottles.

Organic Source. Organic Source Sparkling Juice launched last month as a line of organic juices mixed with sparkling water. These juices are under 50 calories per serving, low sugar and organic-certified by QAI.

Cell-Nique. The Cell-nique Family is releasing four new flavors this September on a nation-wide basis: Root Beer, Dark Chocolate, Berry Grape and Lemon Ginger. They all have the same “Super 31 Formula.” Cell-nique has also introduced the “Cell-nique/Obama Stimulus Plan” by announcing EDLP programs at most major

O.N.E. O.N.E. Coconut Water with a Splash (all four SKUs) and O.N.E. Coconut Water Liters hit Kroger Stores Nationwide in August. O.N.E. Coconut Water with a Splash hit NYC retailers though MBD the first of August. In September O.N.E. will be the official water sponsor of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in NYC and the Los Angeles AIDS Walk. Additionally, O.N.E. beverages will be served to all arriving celebs on the Emmy’s Red Carpet.

Skylarhaley. Innovative food and beverage company Skylarhaley has announced that Ryan Cameron has joined the Skylarhaley team as the essn & essn energy Account Manager. Cameron will be responsible for managing existing accounts as well as pursuing new account relationships both locally and nationally to meet ongoing sales goals. He will serve as an internal and external “evangelist” for SkylarHaley, working with the different sales channels, key customers, sales team, and other functional areas within the organization.

The Switch. The Switch juiced up their lineup of six Sparkling 100 percent Juices with the addition of Lemon Lime. New Lemon Lime delivers a light, crisp citrus flavor that is uniquely refreshing. With all natural ingredients and two servings of fruit per 8.3 oz can, The Switch offers consumers a much needed healthy alternative to traditional soft drinks. Lemon Lime will make its debut this fall in schools and at retail across the country.

Star Power. Star Power recently rolled out expanded demos and aggressive promotions to end the summer with a bang. The 100 percent starfruit juice, in the coming months, is rolling out several new flavors, many more sampling events, and a ton of promotions to members of its Facebook and Twitter communities. The demos are in-store in New York and New Jersey, with 2 for $5 promotions rolling out through the company’s retailers.

Smart Juice Organic. Smart Juice Organic has announced that their new fresh-pressed, not-from-concentrate Pomegranate, Pomegranate Tart Cherry, Pomegranate Purple Carrot, Apricot Peach, Fig, Tart Cherry, Pear, Purple Carrot, Quince and Grape juices are now available nationally.

NBI Juiceworks. NBI Juiceworks has launched Drenchers Fit ‘N Lean Heart Healthy Tropical Passion super juice. Each 8 oz. serving has only 10 calories, contains bioflavonoids and fights stress and fatigue. Available in shelf-stable 16 and 64 oz. sizes, Drenchers Fit ‘N Lean Super Juice Heart Healthy contains “Bodyguard,” a fortification package of 15-plus essential vitamins, nutrients, amino acids, electrolytes and herbs.

Acai Roots. Acai Roots has launched a healthy Açaí Energy Shot and a Healthy Energy Drink Concentrate with its 100 percent natural nex4 Formula. Nex4 combines taste with the antioxidant and omega3 health benefits of acai, acerola, guarana and green tea. The formula is perfect as an energy shot or for mixing with any liquid to make juices, shakes, smoothies and even healthy cocktails. The shot is perfect for a healthy and sustained energy boost. Nex4 ready to drink formula comes in an economical 32 oz. bottle as well as a convenient 2 oz. shot size, packaged in a 12-pack for retailers.

Dream Foods. Dream Foods International, LLC, a specialized importer of Sicilian organic kosher not-from-concentrate citrus varietal juices, has introduced its new Volcano Lemon Burst and Volcano Lime Burst counter displays. The display holds two cases of the Volcano Lemon Burst and Volcano Lime Burst in 100 ml (3.4 oz.) or 200ml (6.7 oz.) sizes, allowing retailers to help educate consumers about the brand’s unique qualities and taste.

Sunkist Naturals. Sunkist Naturals has announced its new Sunkist Naturals Lemonade will be available year-round. Sunkist Naturals Lemonade is made from fresh squeezed lemons from their own orchards in California’s San Joaquin Valley and mixed with pure water and old fashioned cane sugar. The lemonade is cloudy because it is made with real, unfiltered lemon juice. No artificial ingredients or preservatives, so it is perishable and needs to be refrigerated. Just lemons, pure water and a touch of sweetness.

Embodi. AMI Brands, LLC, marketer and distributor of high profile healthier beverages recently announced the acquisition of EMBODI, a line of beverages that provides the highest levels of antioxidants of any beverage on the market today. Launched in May 2008, EMBODI is an all-natural, non-alcoholic fruit juice blend packed with red wine antioxidants. EMBODI is made from an all-natural grape pomace extract that contains the full spectrum of polyphenols and antioxidants found in red wine. Embodi is packaged in an 8 oz. re-sealable aluminum bottle and is available in three flavors: Blueberry Pomegranate, Goji Berry, and Citrus Sangria.

Mysmoothie. Begun at a Paris trade show in 2004, Sweden-based Mysmoothie has launched three new “superfruit” smoothie flavors: acai, pomegranate, and blueberry to its set of five original flavors.

Cutting Edge Beverages. Cutting Edge Beverages (CEB), makers of Juice Bowl, has been experiencing healthy and consistent growth with their established Juice Bowl brand. The brand was originally launched into the US market in 1967 and has had a sustained presence in the domestic market. Currently the brand is sold in aseptic shelf stable Tetrapak, aluminum can and PET plastic bottles and comes in a number of different juice varieties in 100% juice and juice drinks. All package types are 100% natural and fortified with calcium and vitamin C. Long sold mostly to Institutional and Food Service channels, the brand has also recently experienced success in a number of retail programs across the country and internationally. As a result of this success, CEB has made a strategic decision to update the brand image and redesign the package, updating and enlarging the logo as well as the overall look across all package types. The new package design is available in aseptic 125 ml, 200 ml, and 32 oz., PET 15.2 oz., and aluminum can 11.5 oz. packages.

INZone. A new line of TummyTickler Tots, featuring apple juice and purified water with 40 percent reduced sugar (compared to regular apple juice), will be available in market in January 2010. The single-serve and 2- or 3-pack configurations provide excellent offerings for impulse purchases, driving incremental revenue for all retailers, and newly launched larger formats of 8+1 and 11+1 multi-packs are ideal for grocery and mass retailers seeking to drive basket ring.

Bossa Nova. Bossa Nova Superfruit Company is busy leveraging resources under its new parent, Beverages Holdings. Efforts include a heightened focus on in-store activation and distribution relationships. Alton Johnson, founder of Bossa Nova, says that the partnership is “already producing synergies across systems. We’re excited to see how explosive 2010 can be in terms of greatly improved retailer support, consumer education and overall brand activation.”

Evolution. Independently-owned Southern California juice brand Evolution remains committed to freshness and authentic super-premium quality. The only brand among the majors that makes truly Fresh Squeezed (unpasteurized) Orange Juice—retaining full flavor profile and nutritional value. Evolution also makes flash pasteurized juice blends, including vegetable and organic juices, distributed throughout the West Coast.

Honest Tea. Honest Tea is launching a new variety in its Honest Kids organic drink pouch line – Appley Ever After. With a freshly-picked apple taste, this variety contains 30 percent organic apple juice – more than any other Honest Kids variety. Appley Ever After contains 40 calories, 10 grams of organic cane sugar, 100 percent of the daily-recommended value of Vitamin C and no high fructose corn syrup. This light and refreshing apple variety of Honest Kids will join Berry Berry Good Lemonade, Goodness Grapeness and Tropical Tango Punch in the line of kids’ organic thirst quenchers.

Envy. Envy has announced new distribution agreements with new US Foodservice and Sysco sites, as well as several specialty vend/snack distributors throughout the country. The company is branching out from a focus on the Midwestern region and targeting new states throughout the US. Envy is also a proud new partner to the Alliance for Healthier Generation program that encourages healthy eating habits in schools.

Naked. Naked Juice has introduced two new additions to the hugely popular Protein Zone line: Mango and Double Berry. As the newest members of the Naked Juice Protein Zone line, both flavors bring more than three servings of fruit and 30 grams of protein per bottle to help fuel strong muscles and a healthy body. Mango offers a juicy flavor burst of mango, orange and apple, while Double Berry delivers a perfect taste fusion of blueberries and strawberries. As with all Naked Juice products, both Mango and Double Berry Protein Zone flavors contain no added sugars or preservatives.

Ginger People. To drive sales and trial, the Ginger People are adding new coupon hang tags to their Ginger Soother and Ginger ‘Gizer tonics. The $.50 off consumer coupon will start hitting store shelves in October to coincide with The Ginger People’s October distributor promotion. The popular tonics are enjoying double digit growth through Whole Foods Market nationwide.

Sunsteen Mangosteen Supplement. This brand has featured new 250 ml packaging for 2009. It is the same great mangosteen supplement without the hassles of a bigger 750 ml or 1 L bottle. Sunsteen Mangosteen Supplement uses whole fruit mangosteen with the pericarp and extract from the pericarp to provide high concentration of xanthones and powerful natural antioxidants. With ORAC value of around 1,500 umole/oz. Sunsteen is a powerful mangosteen antioxidant supplement now available with the ease and convenience of a single serving size packaging.

ALO drink. ALO drink introduces their newest flavor, ALO Allure, a blend of mangosteen, mango and real aloe vera juice and pulp. Believe to have cooling properties to counteract “heatiness,” the mangosteen accompanies its tropical cousin, the nutrient rich mango and real aloe vera pulp and juice straight from the leaf, in ALO Allure. As with all ALO drink beverages, ALO Allure is available in 16.9 oz. (500mL) and 50.7 (1.5L) bottles. ALO drink is now available through Nature’s Best, Tree of Life, UNFI, Market Centre, Chex Finer Foods, Ito En, Faygo Beverages, and many other fine distributors.

Uncle Matt’s. Uncle Matt’s, which celebrates 10 years in the organic orange juice business this year, was recently featured in Florida Trend Magazine and on FloridaTrend.com. Matt was interviewed, and the article is called “A Better Way to Farm.” Uncle Matt’s will be in the West Coast, Southwest, and Rocky Mountain Whole Foods beginning in October.

Functional Brands/Life 2 Go. When General Motors needed to provide stamina and focus to drivers and race crews during the 24 hours of Le Mans, the most demanding endurance race in the world, they came to Jimmy Schmidt of Detroit’s landmark Rattlesnake Club. Chef Schmidt designed a culinary program that delivered delicious balanced nutrition and peak performance, calling it Life2Go. Since then GM Racing and Team Corvette have been victorious at LeMans a record of 6 of 8 years. Distribution is in the Midwest, Michigan Costco Stores as well as Meijer chain wide locations.

Kiju. Add a splash of organics to your beverage cooler with Kiju , a grab-and-go organic juice. Available in five flavors, Kiju Organic 100% percent juices are certified organic pure juice and juice blends with no added sugar. These products are now available in premium, single-serve 12 oz. glass bottles.

Sweet Leaf Tea. Sweet Leaf Tea Company has launched a new 16oz. proprietary bottle. starting with none other than, The Original Sweet Tea. In addition to all 10 of its classic iced-tea flavors, Sweet Leaf’s lemonade flavor will be available in the new bottle by the beginning of next year.

Fruit 66. Fruit 66 has been embraced by school districts in every state but one. And, in time for back-to-school, Fruit 66 is partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an initiative that supports schools nationwide in developing healthier environments with the goal of reversing the trend of childhood obesity.

Gloji. Gloji, the world’s first and only filtered goji juice, won last year’s Gold Award (Pentaward 2008) for best packaging. It is currently scheduled for placement in Ritz-Carlton hotel mini bars.

FUZE. FUZE has a new juice flavor coming this September: Goji Wild Berry Flavored Empower. The new flavor features the taste of goji berries rounded by the distinct taste of black currants, elderberries, cherries and other wild berries. With 10 calories per 8 oz. serving, it contains powerful antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and also contains Chromium and L-Carnitine. For each bottle of Empower sold from September through December 2009, FUZE will donate 10 cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, totaling up to $650,000.