Features

  • 09 Nov
    Functional juice trends

    Functional juice trends

     

    Attributes for a Healthy Life

    Sudipta Bhattacharjee, Research Analyst with Zenith Global, defines functional juices as those providing a health benefit beyond their basic nutrition content, incorporating physiologically active added components.

    The functional juice market has been growing steadily year on year, with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating further growth. The pandemic has changed consumers’ attitudes towards health and immunity, as well as focusing on the health benefits of ingredients in products they are consuming. Although the aspect of ‘functional’ juices might have been a trend in previous years, experts expect that this will continue well into the future. The concept of a healthy life with a key focus on immunity has been brought to the forefront throughout the pandemic.

    Target market

    Young people and parents are often the target market for many functional juice companies. Amongst younger consumers, functional juice provides innovative flavours making a great addition to a busy lifestyle. However, in future years, strong marketing and sales campaigns are needed to appeal to all demographics so that a wider consumer base can reap the benefits of functional juice and lead healthier lifestyles.

    Research indicates over 75% of adults consume vitamins and minerals in supplement form. However, functional juice provides consumers with an easier way to consume their daily vitamins and mineral intake. Additionally, functional juice is suited for on-the-go consumption, particularly amongst young professionals. During 2020, on the go consumption considerably reduced as consumers took up working or studying from home. As there has been a greater onus on a hybrid work lifestyle in 2021, on the go consumption is expected to steadily rise post-pandemic, benefiting the functional juice segment.

    Innovation

    Functional juice shots have been increasing in popularity for on-the-go consumers. In the past, these typically 50ml to 100ml sized shots would be sold in specialist cafes and juice bars. However, there has been an expansion of functional juice shots into the retail sector. This has been driven even further by the pandemic as the majority of restaurants and cafes were closed. Alongside retail growth, higher demand has risen for online delivery services such as those offered by US-based company Uncle Matt’s Organic who produce functional juice shots containing live probiotics and vitamins C, D, and zinc. Supermarkets such as Wholefoods in the US and Sainsburys in the UK have also been widening its offerings of functional juice shots in stores, highlighting retail expansion into this growing category.

    Trends

    Other trends in this market include no additives and no added sugar in functional juices but consumers are now requiring more from juices. This includes juices with enhanced functionalities such as vitamins C, D, and zinc which has all been proven to strengthen immune systems, as well as reducing symptoms of fatigue. Pairing this alongside natural immunity-boosting ingredients such as ginger also coordinates well with a healthy lifestyle. In Western countries, there is a trend of incorporating ingredients traditionally found in Eastern countries such as ginger, turmeric, and ginseng in functional juices. For example, Suja Juice in the US, offer immunity juice shots all containing probiotics and ranging from turmeric, reishi mushroom and ginger flavours. In the UK, Plenish offers a lemon and ginger variant containing vitamins A and C for a healthier immune system.

    Countries within the Asia-Pacific region such as Japan and Australia continue to lead the way for immunity boosting functional juices. Asian giant POKKA offer juice made with vegetables such as its carrot juice enriched with antioxidants as well as vitamins C and E available in the Singaporean market. Australia’s Bae Juice created a hangover juice containing Korean pear which helps to absorb alcohol, reducing symptoms such as headaches and sore throats.

    Experimenting with both vitamins, minerals and natural immunity boosting ingredients in functional juice not only improves physical health but also has a positive impact on mental health. Research suggests regular amounts of magnesium, zinc and iron in consumers’ diets has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms of stress. Functional juices allow for a broader healthier lifestyle encompassing both mental and physical wellness. For example, market leader PepsiCo’s Tropicana updated its functional juice range in late 2020. Available in the UK, the Tropicana + range contains added vitamins C, B6 and magnesium and are more clearly labelled to make it easier for consumers to understand the benefits of each drink in the range.

    Benefits

    Whilst incorporating several different ingredients certainly has increased benefits, functional juice does not require a multitude of ingredients for it to be beneficial. New Zealand based brand ’73 Citrus proves this as the company launched a sparkling orange juice with liposomal vitamin C in 2021 which helps to increase absorption and increase immunity.

    Functional juice has solidified its position in the market, as a core component in consumers’ day to day lives and has proven to be a popular option within the soft beverages’ category. Functional juice is a key attribute for a healthy lifestyle and an integral aspect of a stronger body and mind.

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 09 Nov
    Botanicals – bringing an authentic taste to beverages

    Botanicals – bringing an authentic taste to beverages

    Consumer interest in botanicals is growing and can help your brand stand out on the shelves, writes Michel Aubanel from Kerry.

    Consumers who want clean label and sustainable ingredients are attracted to products that contain botanicals. This is especially true in beverages, where botanical flavours add a refreshing and natural ‘pop’ to taste. The use of botanical ingredients such as sage leaf and rose bud is also growing in categories including bakery, dairy and confectionery.

    BOX: The interest in using botanical ingredients in food and beverages is on the rise worldwide, with regions including Asia Pacific, North America and Europe leading the way. The global botanical extracts market—which includes all uses for botanicals—is projected to reach USD 7.59b by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 8.7% between 2017 to 2025, according to Market Watch. The market for foods and beverages that contain botanicals is projected to be valued at USD 1,489.3b by 2025, growing at a CAGR of around 3.2% between 2019 and 2025, according to Zion Research.

    In food and beverages, consumers tend to consider botanicals ‘premium’ ingredients. Local palates and availability dictate which botanicals are most popular. In this article, I explain why the use of botanical ingredients in food and beverages is growing, focusing on botanical taste, ease of use and perceived health benefits.

    What are botanical ingredients?
    When you transform raw material such as basil leaves, chamomile flower or cardamom seeds from their native format to a liquid format, you create a botanical extract. In food and beverage, botanical ingredients have a concentrated taste and a longer shelf life than fresh ingredients, which makes them especially appropriate for use in such products.

    What are the advantages of working with botanical extracts in food?
    Botanical extracts bring an authentic taste because they are derived directly from plants, usually from the leaves, flowers or fruits. Some botanical extracts are obtained from frozen raw materials while others from dried; the state of the source material can change the flavour intensity. Typically, frozen materials produce a more authentic and distinctive taste than dried ones.

    In addition to the previously mentioned botanical ingredients, other well-known or popular botanicals include mint, ginger, hibiscus, rhubarb, and various roots. Kerry’s taste portfolio includes individual botanical extracts as well as botanical blends, such as those made from elderflower, rose bud, chamomile, white tea, ginger, cinnamon, clove and cumin. Some customers even approach to us with a creative brief that includes specifications such as “provide a botanical extract that delivers the sensation of the seashore, from the salty water to the native plants.” The resulting formulations can provide enhanced taste complexity to products ranging from waters to spirits to wafers.

    Are botanicals sustainable?
    Because botanicals are natural, brands that include them in food and beverage products may choose to highlight their sustainability stories. For example, our botanical extracts such as vanilla and citrus have transparent sourcing and supply chain; some of our partners choose to make this information available to consumers through on-pack callouts and social media messaging. Some botanicals also feature recognizable certifications such as organic or Rainforest alliance certified, which brands may also showcase in their products. Some are sourced through local cooperatives in various regions, allowing farmers to remain based in their locality and avoid delocalisation to cities.
    Why do consumers buy beverages and food products containing botanicals?
    While botanicals add an authentic taste to products, many also come with perceived health benefits.

    For centuries, plant botanicals have often been associated with traditional medicine, aromatherapy and herbal infusions. Extracts such as ginseng have associations with energy, immune health and stress management.

    Kerry’s European study on botanicals revealed that while 95% of European consumers have heard of botanicals and 83% believe botanicals offer health benefits, only 11% believe they truly understand all the benefits of botanical ingredients. This makes clear that there is a need for education around botanicals, including how they might benefit a person’s health.

    Botanicals requires careful wording and regulatory review to ensure phrasing is allowed and appropriate. We’ve seen some effective campaigns that speak to the customary uses of botanicals by native people. This can convey tradition without being subject to scientific scrutiny.

    Botanicals and emotions

    New consumer research from Kerry also revealed that botanical extracts generate several moods and emotions with consumers including energy, excitement, peacefulness and fun.  The research, which uncovers the psychology behind botanical preferences and the perceived benefits consumers derive from consuming botanical food and beverages, examined 44 emotions that consumers associate with botanical extracts. Kerry surveyed over 6,500 consumers across 12 countries in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa to discover attitudes towards over 55 botanicals flavours and ingredients.

    The research shows that botanical flavours connect with consumers on a highly positive level, beyond flavour and taste. Consumers also think about botanicals as being energetic, interesting, useful, trustworthy and safe. For example, a beverage with guarana, ginseng and ginger can carry a similar connotation of ‘energy’ as a coffee or energy drink would to the consumer. Meanwhile, ingredients such as saffron, bergamot and honey are considered premium.

    Innovation

    In a very highly competitive marketplace, brands are constantly attempting to stand out and interestingly 87% of consumers say that botanicals provide a unique taste experience. Meanwhile, according to Innova research, the use of botanicals on front of pack will result in a 23% price premium. Formulating with botanicals can certainly win consumer hearts, especially by using top appealing flavours such as mint, honey and cinnamon. Manufacturers should emphasize the link between botanical flavour, their corresponding emotions and perceived health benefits they evoke to create flavours that meet consumers’ daypart and occasion needs. These insights can be leveraged to connect with consumers to deliver a stronger taste experience in food and beverages and support product development.

    A longer version of this article was previously published on the KerryDigest. Visit www.kerry.com/insights/kerrydigest for more insights from industry leaders.

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 11 Sep
    FCOJ – Outlook – Jack Scoville’s latest report

    FCOJ – Outlook – Jack Scoville’s latest report

    FCOJ Autumn report

    Price action in FCOJ has been generally positive with higher prices seen over the last couple of months.  It is mostly a weather related rally, with damage to fruit being seen in exporter countries around the world.   Conditions have generally been good in Florida for harvest and fruit development, but that is about the only place where generally good conditions are reported.  The market is on edge even with the good current conditions as the state is in the hurricane season and the season is approaching its peak.  Florida has been lucky so far.  It has avoided the storms that have moved into the Gulf.  People and agriculture farther west in the Louisiana area have not been nearly as fortunate as there has been widespread damage there.  But Florida has gotten by and has just been brushed by a minor system that brought a decent amount of rain, but no big winds and not really all that much heavy rain to citrus groves.  The season will soon reach its peak and then the chances for a deadly and damaging storm will be much less.

    Brazil has not been so lucky with the weather.  The country suffered from a freeze event that hurt many crops.  Coffee was damaged as were winter grains crops like the winter corn and winter wheat.  Citrus was also severely damaged and a lot of fruit loss is suspected.     The damage to the citrus crop is big news for international buyers.  Brazil is the largest exporter of FCOJ in the world so the big loss of oranges will hurt its international trade and will raise prices generally around the globe.  Europe will be very hard hit as Europe has imported a lot from Brazil over the last several years but might not be able to get as much juice and will be paying higher prices for the juice it does get as the year moves on.  Brazil has also been an exporter to the US so prices will be creeping higher there as well.

    Florida can supply wheat missing from imports from Brazil, but will also have to service the European demand so demand for FCOJ from Florida could be very high and prices might go too high for the US market.  People here and in Europe might turn more to vitamins to cover the losses in the FCOJ market supply.

    Mexico would be able to help offset the losses from Brazil but the country has had weather problems of its own.  Northern growing areas have been in drought this year and production has suffered.  Central and southern Mexico are in generally good condition but the drought in the north has cut the overall production back at least a little bit.  This will impact Mexico’s ability to export at a time when everyone will be looking for FCOJ.  So, the outlook for higher prices remains intact for now and New York futures traders will be looking to extend buying in the market on any price setbacks.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 11 Sep
    Protein-enriched juice drinks – the next big beverage trend?

    Protein-enriched juice drinks – the next big beverage trend?

    Protein

    What if you could give consumers the same, refreshing experience of a morning glass of juice while also helping them squeeze in the many health benefits of protein, too? Here Joe Katterfield, Sales Development Manager, Health & Performance Nutrition at Arla Foods Ingredients, explains why protein and juice are perfect partners.

     

    ‘Kitchen Medicine’ and the rise of functional beverages

    Arla Foods Ingredients recently worked with Health Focus International on a global consumer study to identify the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the way we eat and shop for health. One of the trends it highlighted was ‘kitchen medicine’ – a heightened interest in nutrition and an increased willingness to pay a premium for functional health through diet.

    The proportion of people globally opting for foods and beverages that provide protective, preventative health benefits grew to 17% by October 2020, up from 12% at the start of the year, while those choosing products for specific medicinal purposes grew from 9% to 12% over the same period. The number of people taking vitamins, minerals and supplements once a week or more for general health also grew, from 45% to 62%. The study also found that consumers are willing to pay up to 10% more for foods and beverages which provide immunity benefits.[1]

    Among the categories to benefit from this trend are fortified and functional beverages, the global market for which is forecast to grow to USD 125 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 5.1%.[2]

    The mainstreaming of protein

    While the past year and a half has of course seen surging demand for immune health benefits, over the longer term, there has been another big nutrition story. Protein-fortified products used to be primarily the concern of the sports nutrition sector, but have gone on to achieve huge popularity with mainstream consumers. This has happened for several reasons – a growing body of scientific evidence for protein’s health benefits (in areas like satiety, weight loss and muscle growth), positive media coverage, and high-protein diets like keto and paleo.

    The focus on consuming the right amount of protein has never been higher and consumers are now used to seeing high-protein versions of their favourite products. This includes the beverage category, where high-protein and source of protein claims increased by 8.6% between 2015 and 2020.[3]

    Protein – reinforcing juice’s feel-good reputation

    Juices of course have a traditional association with wellness. They can be an ideal way to replenish the body’s sugar reserves, while delivering vitamins, minerals and the many other healthy ingredients in fruit and vegetables.

    However, media headlines about the effects of excessive consumption on dental health and diabetes risk have increased consumer caution around high-sugar choices, leaving manufacturers looking for new ways to keep juice’s feel-good reputation alive and well. This is creating new demand for innovative functional beverages, and protein-enriched juice drinks represent a particularly exciting opportunity in the sector. Like juices, protein has a powerful association with health, and unlike some beverage ingredients, it doesn’t set alarm bells ringing – in fact it’s likely to increase appeal.

    Overcoming issues with taste and mouthfeel

    The demand for high-protein products more mainstream consumer groups has increased the importance of delivering great taste and mouthfeel.  As a result, lot of our R&D is now focused on helping manufacturers overcome common challenges relating to the taste, texture and mouthfeel of protein, which can limit its commercial appeal.

    One of our solutions in particular is the perfect way to bring the benefits of protein to juice drinks. Lacprodan ISO.Clear is a whey protein isolate developed for the fortification of functional beverages without cloudiness, graininess or off-taste. It has a protein content of 90%, offers high heat stability and is clear in solution, making it suitable for pasteurized or UHT processed juice drinks.

    To showcase its potential, we recently launched a new protein-enriched juice drink concept. It shows how manufacturers can use Lacprodan ISO.Clear to deliver the benefits of whey protein isolate in a refreshing, great-tasting juice drink format with no added sugar. It demonstrates how juice drinks fortified with Lacprodan ISO.Clear can be positioned for a variety of markets, for example as a breakfast offering, a post-workout recovery drink, or a beverage for older consumers and medical patients who need extra protein.

    Juices containing Lacprodan ISO. Clear taste exactly the way juice drinks should, but with the benefit of high-quality, natural whey protein isolate. It’s also easy to add to existing recipes and works well with almost all juice types, including clear juice drinks. We’ve thoroughly tested these combinations with the commonly used production equipment and parameters used for juice manufacturing to ensure easy implementation into production set-up. Furthermore, the addition of protein to juice drinks can be further enhanced with other health-promoting ingredients such as vitamins, minerals and probiotics.

    A new spin on an established favourite

    In short, protein can be the perfect way to polish the health halo of juice drinks. It’s also a great strategy for differentiating products, especially in a market where novel functional benefits are increasingly sought by health-conscious consumers. And with ingredients like Lacprodan ISO.Clear it’s now possible to put a new spin on an established consumer favourite without compromising on taste.

    Arla Foods

    [1] Covid-19 data was collected by Health Focus International in October 2020 with approximately 500 respondents per country. The study covered USA, Brazil, China, UK, Spain and Germany.

    [2] Euromonitor International, 2020

    [3] Innova Database, 2020

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 11 Sep
    Sugar reduction – Embracing the challenges

    Sugar reduction – Embracing the challenges

    Today’s consumers want a life that is healthier for themselves and the environment, and this journey often starts with food and beverages. Coralie Garcia Perrin, Global Marketing Director-Sweet Taste, Kerry reports for FJF

    According to Kerry’s ConsumerFirst research, 87% of consumers are trying to reduce their sugar consumption or consumer sugar in moderation. They are increasingly seeking products with reduced sugar and healthier credentials, challenging manufacturers to respond to demands without sacrificing the tastes consumers have come to love. The pandemic has accelerated this shift in consumer behaviour, with evidence that co-morbidities such as obesity and diabetes can lead to more severe COVID-19 outcomes.

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines recommend that for the prevention of obesity and tooth decay, adults and children alike must keep their consumption of free sugars to less than 10%of their daily energy intake (equivalent to about a dozen teaspoons of table sugar for adults).

    Taxation to lower sugar

    Meanwhile, some 50 countries or jurisdictions have implemented taxes on sugary drinks to discourage consumption and fight diseases that can be exacerbated by poor diets. Among the latest places to turn to taxation as a means of encouraging healthy habits and fighting obesity-related illness are Spain and Poland, which introduced new sugar taxes in January of 2021.

    Most consumers know that excess sugar intake negatively affects personal and public health. However, an increasing number are becoming aware of the negative environmental impact of sugar. Over 1,000 litres of water are needed to produce 1kg of sugar from sugarcane, emitting -042kg of C02. According to new research from Kerry, 49% of consumers are now considering sustainability when buying food and drink, and 62% want companies to take a position on sustainability.

    Taste challenges

    The creation of low-sugar beverages comes with taste challenges, with consumers demanding that products retain the flavour that they love. It is important for manufactures to get flavour right in order to ensure repeat purchase and foster brand loyalty. Issues around poor mouthfeel, lack of sweetness sensation and increased perceptions of acidity can also impact on the enjoyment of a product.

    Manufacturers can employ a number of solutions to tackle these problems, including the use of natural flavour systems and masking systems to increasing the perception of sweetness through flavour tonalities. Kerry’s Tastesense™ is a natural flavour solution that modifies the sweetness and flavour profile, providing for great taste in sugar-reduced beverages, enabling consumers to enjoy the pleasing taste and mouthfeel delivered by sugar, yet without the negative labelling impact. A recent life cycle analysis (LCA) carried out by Kerry showed that our Tastesense solution delivered a 30% reduction in sugar, saving 840 litres of water per 1kg.

    Appetite for change

    Consumers are actively embracing sugar reduction as a key component of improved nutrition. The global beverage and food industry are making enormous progress in reducing sugar in various products, and these measures are delivering more wholesome products to consumers. However, solutions must also consider the environment – this will help us achieve our goals around health and sustainability together.

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 15 Jul
    Juices & nectars: What next for juice: let’s look at the figures

    Juices & nectars: What next for juice: let’s look at the figures

     

    According to data from Zenith Global’s Globaldrinks.com database, global volume sales of fruit juices, nectars and juice drinks (FJNJD) fell by 3.3% in 2020 to 61.5 billion litres, writes Christina Avison, Associate Director – Commercial, Zenith Global

    While worldwide consumption had been growing incrementally pre-pandemic, boosted by positive performance in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, volumes had been falling in Europe and North America in the years to 2019. The significant factors behind waning demand include price, sugar content and lack of consumer enthusiasm despite huge investment into innovations that have failed to create proportional impact.

    Value sales have shown more strength reflecting an increase in average prices thanks to rising premiumisation of the category and stable demand from the hospitality sector. This had been the main route to competing with other liquid refreshment beverages and achieving success in a densely packed competitive marketplace.

    In 2020, there was an overall drop in value worldwide of more than 7%. Retail purchasers of juices opted for larger SKUs and multipacks thanks to reduced shopping trips, bigger basket sizes and to meet the needs of more of the family confined to the home. There were also several months of the year where next to no sales were achieved in the HoReCa channel, and smaller packs designed for on-the-go consumption and convenience purchases also suffered with reduced footfall in major centres across the world due to quarantines, lockdowns and shelter in place guidance.

    Markets where FJNJD are highly popular in convenience and hospitality like Spain and Japan were worst hit by value declines, with any uptick in retail sales unable to make up for losses in HoReCa and on-the-go volumes while typical consumers stayed home and relied instead on fresh fruit and homemade juices.

    Furthermore, with a fall in higher value channels, brands suffered significantly greater losses in markets across North America and both East and West Europe where, despite increases in private label sales in the year, this was not able to offset a decline in the top brands’ value sales in single serve packaging.

    Value sales too are expected to recover more quickly, growing at a stronger CAGR than volume at around 5% per annum to 2025.

    Pandemic panic

    It is well documented that when flu season hits, orange juice consumption spikes. With the threat of a far worse virus in 2020, demand for juice rocketed – the highest peak seen across the review period – especially in markets like the US, Germany and the UK. Juice, with its natural health credentials, is seen as a convenient and simple way to consume nutrients for adults and children alike.

    Immune support became an overnight top priority for consumers fearful of contracting the coronavirus, so healthy and functional juice drinks came more sharply into focus. Shoppers stocked up amid fears of shortages, especially in ambient and long-life SKUs. In the early months of the global pandemic, orange juice prices were boosted significantly by this surge in purchasing and elevated by concerns over supply chain continuity and labour shortages in Florida and Brazil.

    In 2020, Zenith Global observed a rise in the number of juice brands proactively promoting the health benefits of juice consumption to the growing population of health-conscious consumers seeking better-for-you beverages. No more so than in Australia, where it was announced in August 2020 that the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation rejected the Australian government’s proposal to retain its five-star Health Star Rating for 100% juices. Fruit and vegetable juices are now assessed on the same footing as sugar-sweetened beverages including CSDs despite having zero added sugar, with some products now allocated as low as 2.5 stars thanks to high naturally occurring sugar content.

    Sugar crush

    There is still a limited understanding amongst some consumers and lawmakers regarding inherent vs added sugars in juice, yet consumers are easily convinced by claims of sugar reduction. This has undoubtedly been one of the key factors shaping global juice consumption trends and the trigger for falling volumes in a number of the largest world markets.

    Consequently, investment in technology to reduce sugar in juices is gathering pace, with biotechnology company Better Juice recently landing USD8 million in seed round funding. Its enzymatic technology process will be carried out in a new manufacturing plant in Israel which claims to reduce sucrose, fructose and glucose content in fruit juices without reducing the nutritional or prebiotic value by converting these sugars into non-digestive compounds, such as dietary fibres, gluconic acid and sorbitol.

    Another favoured way to reduce fructose is to use vegetables in juice blends. Adding vegetables like carrots or beetroot to juice drinks has also shown to increase a consumer’s identification with healthful messaging.

    Constant evolution, marketing and reformulation continue in the juice category and this was not slowed by the pandemic. In the UK, PepsiCo launched Tropicana Lean in September 2020 with a lower sugar content and market leader Innocent Drinks released Innocent Super Light in March 2021. In the US, Coca-Cola’s Half Naked range performed significantly better in 2020 than Naked’s standard range, with its Naked Protein portfolio also seeing triple digit growth in the year as consumers turned to functional properties.

    Functional juice

    Functionality beyond the natural health benefits of a fruit-full diet is high up on the list for consumers in a mid- and post-pandemic world. Not just supporting general health and wellbeing, juices marketed with added benefits like immune boost, added vitamins and minerals and support for fighting off colds and viruses have been boosting sales in the category. Ingredients with particular health markers like ginger, matcha, spirulina, turmeric, celery and açai resonate with consumers and further highlight the health halo.

    Some of the key launches in the last 18 months include:

    • Granini, Spain: brought out a new range of fortified immune support nectars.
    • Morinaga Milk Industry, Japan: launched Sunkist Super Grape enriched with polyphenols to support gut health and cardiovascular health.
    • Plantly, Australia: released enhanced juicy water ‘Defence’ which includes echinacea extract and high-vitamin C fruits and vegetables like sweet potato, apple and carrot for an immune boosting hit.
    • Innocent, UK: relaunched super smoothies, now containing double the vitamins.
    • So Good So You, USA: introduced two new immune boosting juice shots to its existing range.

    Premium flavours

    The high price of juices and juice drinks relative to other refreshment beverages continues to be one of the key challenges to future growth in the category. However, premium flavours remain a stronger selling point than price with consumers seeking a more sophisticated adult beverage than juices shared with the whole family. Inspiration from cocktails gives a real treat feel to the juice category, especially during lockdowns, with PepsiCo capitalising on this adding new flavours to its Tropicana Premium Drinks line like Pina Colada and Strawberry Kiwi Sunrise.

    While key flavours like orange and apple continue to dominate on a global scale, grape, pineapple, cherry and cranberry have remained steady and less volatile to changes experienced in the last 18 months.

    The return of breakfast

    One of the key reasons cited for stagnating or declining juice sales is the hectic nature of modern life and the change over the last 50 years from a family breakfast sat around the table with a glass of juice to the modern bustle of grab-and-go convenience foods, meal replacement drinks or skipping breakfast altogether.

    However, with more of us staying home in the last year than ever before and rediscovering the simple pleasures of enjoying extra family moments to connect, breakfast – and by extension, juice consumption – may be set to be a positive change that households opt to keep as we move into the new normal.

    Riding this renewed momentum for juice and maintaining new or returning customers gained throughout the pandemic will be key to ensuring future growth. Zenith Global certainly believes this is possible, with a bright horizon forecast for FJNJD for the first time in a long time.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 15 Jul
    Sustainable Agriculture: Campaigning for safe responsible agriculture

    Sustainable Agriculture: Campaigning for safe responsible agriculture

    Global ingredients manufacturer, Treatt, has joined the Sustainable Agriculture Industry Platform to expand safe and responsible agricultural practices in South America.

    Joining in collaboration with its lemon oil partner FGF TRAPANI, Treatt and FGF TRAPANI will expand SAI Platform’s sustainable best practices into Argentina and Peru through the rest of 2021 and into 2022. As a member of SAI Platform, Treatt will continue to champion good working conditions for employees and promoting responsible and sustainable farming through their extensive global supply partners.

    Much of Treatt’s lemon oil is harvested from FGF TRAPANI’s South American farms, before ending up on global consumer shelves through beverages.

    Commenting on the decision, Craig Landles, Global Lead Citrus Buyer at Treatt, said: “Sustainability has never been such an important factor in how businesses are scrutinised by customers, investors, employees and society as a whole. At Treatt, sustainability is a core focus and we are committed to enhancing our sustainability responsibilities across the Group.

    “Joining the SAI platform is a significant step forward and we are proud to become a member. We will be in a stronger position to share best practice knowledge, as well as embed and implement sustainable practices in our supply chain as a result.”

    Founded in 2002, the SAI Platform provides a pre-competitive environment to address global sustainability challenges facing food production today, and in the years ahead. With a network of over 90 members around the world, SAI Platform is developing the practice of sustainable agricultural tools and principles that create secure and strong agricultural supply chains, to protect the earth’s resources.

    The focus is member driven and SAI Platform meet their needs through Beef, Dairy and Crops Working Groups as well as its measurement and verification tool the Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) and data collecting tool Spotlight. By leading the field to sustainable practices, SAI Platform delivers value to its members, farmers, their communities and consumers.

    Mr Landles added: “Treatt and FGF TRAPANI have the perfect partnership to support their customers’ sustainability requirements. We can instil best farm practice to others – it is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference for the right moral reasons. It is something Treatt is very passionate about as a business and we are very proud to be so.”

    To find out more about Treatt’s sustainable methods, go to https://www.treatt.com/sustainability

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 15 Jul
    Juice power: How to convert your drink into a retail product

    Juice power: How to convert your drink into a retail product

    Why your family food or drink recipe can’t be sold in the shops, Richard Horwell, marketing and branding specialist, Brand Relations, provides some insight.

    There are no rules about where a business idea can be born, and some of the best begin in a kitchen. We recently developed a healthy soft drink based on stinging nettles. The recipe was one that had been in the founder’s family for generations. It was originally used as a cure-all and detox, and now it has been reimagined as a refreshing summer drink. Whether a recipe has been handed down through the years, or adapted from a drink experienced while travelling, or created from scratch (by design or by accident), it’s likely to need quite a few changes before it becomes a marketable reality. And no matter how wonderful the recipe, there are a number of steps to take on the journey from kitchen to high street.

    Step one: It is so important to understand before you take on any business venture that the production of your product cannot be just a few drinks here and there; it’s either all or nothing. The best idea is to take your recipe to an experienced manufacturer (co-packer). A co-packer will be looking at volume and unless you can give them confidence this project will grow and fast, then very few will consider taking it on.  They also need to believe in your product as much as you do, so before you speak to them make sure your company and brand look professional, many co-packers won’t even respond to Hotmail or Gmail addresses, so get brand ready.

    Another thing to remember is that many co-packers will only take on a product if it is going to be produced in its thousands (not hundreds). To ensure that this can be done correctly and safely, with a reasonable shelf life and all the right information on the packaging, you need to get a professional recipe developer on board to help and guide you.

    Step two: Your product could be the most delicious product in the world, sell amazingly with your friends, family and local farmer’s market, but the hardest pill many of my clients have to swallow is that the recipe will simply not taste the same when produced on a massive scale.

    Your recipe at home has the option to be filled with the most expensive good quality fresh ingredients which provide the best end result, but if you want to mass produce then you may have to change ingredients to ensure the product isn’t ridiculously expensive and can be mass produced cost effectively. The most important thing to consider is that your ingredients need to have a longer shelf life to cope with the route to market, whether this is via wholesalers and physical retailers or mail order. New products can spend far longer sitting on the shelf than established brands so ensure you have that shelf life.

    You also need to look out for allergens such as milk or peanuts as many co-packers will refuse to fill your product due to the process of informing every client of the potential exposure. But more importantly you also need to make all allergens VERY clear to consumers. Check out the top 14 allergens (https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/food-allergy-and-intolerance), and wherever possible remove them. If not, ensure you find a co-packer that can cope with the allergens, and that your packaging makes them clear.

    Novel Foods is another one to look out for; beware of ingredients that may be legal in other countries but not necessarily in the UK. Some products sold as supplements can’t be sold for mass consumption in food and drink. For this, check the Novel Foods website: https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/regulated-products/novel-foods-guidance.

    Step three: Consider the shelf life of your product. Remember new brands move slowly, no matter how good they are. So, you need to factor this in.

    While really long shelf-life products are not viewed as healthy, so are less popular at the moment, it is important to remember that, generally, the longer the shelf life the better. As a new product your initial movement into the market will be slow until you get some decent listings under your belt. Often, the only other way to retain the shelf life is to put preservatives in your product, however, many wholesalers and retailers refuse to accept this as part of their range. So, avoid this, if at all possible.

    So, when developing your recipe, you must take into consideration whether your product can be stored for a long period of time, preferably at ambient temperatures, or if necessary, chilled.  You then need to adapt your recipe to ensure it will taste just as good at the end of its shelf life as it did at the beginning.

    Step Four: Getting your product’s packaging right is of primary importance and it’s a process many new start-ups overlook.  Your packaging needs to be adaptable: what worked at a farmers’ market won’t necessarily work in a major retail outlet. The packaging needs to be sturdy and protect the product, whether it is stacked on pallets, manhandled by the wholesalers, shelf-stackers, or mail order fulfilment companies, and delivered by couriers or postal workers.  It must remain in pristine condition – preferably with a minimal amount of plastic included in the packaging.

    It is important to understand the best materials to pack your product in. Plastic is lightweight and durable, but currently very unpopular due to environmental reasons. Glass is more sustainable, however many wholesale buyers will not consider it due to its weight and chance of breaking in transit. So, you need packaging appropriate to the product, sturdy and protective, minimal environmental impact, easily recycled and preferably not too heavy. It’s a lot to ask.

    Step Five: Communicating with your target consumer is essential if you are to sell your product. However, different platforms need different approaches. What worked at the farmers’ market will not work in-store. And often what works in-store won’t also work online. So, you need to create messaging that suits the audience and the platform.

    You need to make your target consumer understand what you are about and why you are preferable to the competition. Today, consumers don’t just switch for price; they want to understand the benefits of your brand and they want that information and understanding FAST. Think about why your consumers would pick up your brand and then try to communicate that on the packaging.  Your brand name will NOT sell your start-up product, so don’t cover your packaging in a fancy logo and colourful designs. Instead, aim to educate your target consumer so they will understand what they will (and won’t) get from the product.

    Step Six: Remember that even once all the steps above have been completed, you’ll still need to get safety certification, such as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) or SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approved) before anyone will even entertain stocking your product. So, this must be factored into each step as well. As this will lie with the manufacturer, make certain they have these relevant certifications or are BRC (British Retail Consortium) certified.

    Research

    But before all of that, do your research. Start by looking online and visiting target stores. What’s the competition? Is there anything similar in the market either in the UK or internationally? How is it selling? How is the messaging handled? Knowledge is strength and the more knowledge you have the stronger your chances of breaking into the market and making your idea fly.

    Richard Horwell is the owner of Brand Relations, a specialist food and drink marketing and branding company based in London. Over the last 13 years, Brand Relations has been behind the launch and development of over 100 brands in the UK. Richard has also built up and sold companies of his own in the Food and Beverage sector. He has over 30 years’ experience in marketing FMCG brands around the world, having lived and worked in the UK, USA, Australia and the Middle East. www.brandrelations.co.uk

     

     

     

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 15 Jul
    Agronomy: How SVZ harnesses agronomy to ensure nutritious, delicious fruit ingredients

    Agronomy: How SVZ harnesses agronomy to ensure nutritious, delicious fruit ingredients

    With governments and health organisations shining a spotlight on fruit and vegetable consumption as a central part of a healthy lifestyle, consumers around the world are searching their supermarket aisles for products that can help them integrate vitamins, minerals and fibre easily into their diets.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus on nutrient-rich, natural produce has only intensified, and manufacturers are increasingly incorporating fruit ingredients into their fruit juices, smoothies, yoghurts and baked foods. Producing consistently high-quality, tasty fruit ingredients requires expertise, however, and a deep understanding of agronomy.

    The very foundation of fruit production, agronomy is an exact science that allows ingredient suppliers to provide the best fruit and vegetable varieties in relation to growing conditions, customer requirements and processing needs. As a global fruit ingredient supplier, SVZ has a team of dedicated expert agronomists working in the fields year-round, ensuring that every fruit that passes along the supply chain meets the exact expectations of both manufacturer and consumer.

    On demand

    SVZ’s expert agronomy team was created in 2006, following an influx in special requests from customers. It was no longer the case that customers just wanted tasty purees, juices and NFCs – they now also wanted specific nutrients incorporated, particular colours and tastes, as well as safety credentials. “Take baby food for example,” says Anna Sereda, Corporate Agronomist at SVZ. “This application requires a strict quality grade to ensure that the final product is both safe and highly nutritional – and so the expertise of agronomists is required from the very start.”

    The role of SVZ’s team of agronomists is diverse and evolving. Involved in guiding and supporting farmers from seed selection to harvesting, ensuring their compliance with specific credentials, agronomists need to be available to support and guide farmers at any time of the day or night. Wherever customers are in the world, be it in America, Europe or Asia, there are different regulations required for fruit ingredients – and agronomists enable these expectations to be met by working closely with farmers. Plus, they are also heavily involved with the P&PD (‘Process & Product Development’) team, who focus on new ingredient development and special customer requests, as agronomists have an important role in making their plans materialise.

    Latest developments

    “We are the link between farmers and the customers,” says Anna. “Whenever a new customer request comes in, we are the ones who are in the field, monitoring, observing and reporting, to ensure that their wishes are made a reality.” Such requests vary dramatically, from ensuring specific levels of a nutrient to changing the appearance of an ingredient. “For example, we have received requests from customers who are looking to alter the colour of vegetable ingredients for drink applications. Via several rounds of testing and modelling, our agronomy team can ensure that specific pigments are present in a vegetable to generate the required hue. This is exciting, because these colour varieties are being created in a 100% natural way, without the need for artificial colourings or additives.”

    When the agronomy team isn’t looking at special customer requests, they’re harnessing science to ensure that every ingredient is consistently high-quality – for example, by analysing soil composition. “At SVZ, we also have a huge focus on soil analysis – we go into detail with regard to understanding exactly the composition of soil and how it can be improved to ensure the best possible output,” says Anna. “Based on analyses, we can determine the estimated amount of mineral nitrogen released during the growing season, for example, allowing farmers to then adapt the doses of fertilisers accordingly. Paying close attention to soil status is a practical way to assist growers in optimising their crops and ensuring healthy biodiversity in the fields.”

    Looking ahead

    All scientific fields are constantly changing and evolving, and agronomy is no exception. “One development we are seeing more of is farmers who want to be more specialised,” comments Anna. “In a competitive marketplace, agricultural specialisation is one way to increase volumes and yield, while simultaneously reducing costs. However, this comes with a need for advice and guidance and agronomists are perfectly positioned to offer this.”

    “We’re also seeing a pronounced shift towards organic food worldwide, which is both a massive challenge and opportunity. Consumers are looking for healthier, safer and more wholesome meal options for their families. With concerns over food safety heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic, communicating supply chain transparency to audiences is a priority. And organic labels offer meaningful value for customers, representing more ‘natural’ farming. As agronomists, we can help farmers achieve organic status and make the changes they need to be both ethical and environmentally responsible.”

    Amazing agronomy

    As global consumers become more aware of the effect their food and beverage choices have on their health and the planet’s health, sustainable and nutritious fruit ingredients are only going to become more popular. Shifting to more environmentally responsible ways of growing – for example, with reduced reliance on chemical pesticides – can be challenging, and it’s therefore only with the expertise of agronomists that global farmers can make this shift to more ‘greener’ agricultural methods.

    That’s why, for SVZ, agronomy is more than simply an ‘added extra’. It’s a fundamental part of our sustainable approach to agriculture, and we work closely and collaboratively with our farmer partners to ensure that they are guided and supported at every step of the process. For our customers, our approach to agronomy ensures that we can tailor our ingredients to meet their exact requirements – and meet rising consumer demand for more nutritious, tasty and ethical products.

     

    SVZ International B.V. supplies high quality fruit and vegetable ingredients to food and drink manufacturers around the world. Its long heritage in agricultural supply, further supported by the world class facilities of its parent Royal Cosun’s farmer owned co-operative and accredited sustainability initiatives, ensure a consistent, premium quality ingredient supply. With more than 100 years’ experience in the global fruit and vegetable agribusiness, SVZ represents quality leadership throughout the whole supply chain. Its strong partnerships with local growers and production facilities within the world’s finest growing regions ensure SVZ fruit and vegetables are cultivated, harvested and processed to the highest standards.     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
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