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
  • 15 Jul
    Lingonberry juice – functional juices

    Lingonberry juice – functional juices

    A look at the positive effects on hypertension and vascular function from Lingonberry Juice with reference to experimental studies, by Anne Kivimäki, University of Helsinki

    Lingonberries are beautiful red berries growing in the Nordic forest. Their fresh, astringent and bitter taste might give you some facial contortion. Actually, one genetic variant (TAS2R38) regulates the perception of bitterness in berries.  Regardless of strong taste, it is worth of consuming – lingonberries seem to have beneficial effects on health!

    Cardiovascular diseases and diet

    Cardiovascular diseases are major cause of death in all over the world.  Vascular function is impaired in common situations such as hypertension, smoking, hyperlipidemia and diabetes. When blood vessels lose their ability to dilate and constrict normally, there is no space for the blood pumped by the heart and blood pressure increases. As many other diseases, this ‘vascular dysfunction’ is related to low-grade inflammation. Hypertension is cause of disturbances in endogenous systems and unbalanced body homeostasis.

    In the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, lifestyle and healthy diet are important aspects. Treatment of cardiovascular diseases includes lifestyle guidance and appropriate diet in addition to medication. Foods such as berries, fruits, tea and cocoa has been claimed to exert positive effects on cardiovascular health. This positive effect may arise from polyphenols which are secondary metabolites of the plants. About 8000 different polyphenols have been identified and half of them belong to a group classified as flavonoids. Polyphenolic content has seasonal and growth place variability. For example, amount of one type of flavonoid, anthocyanin, is highest in low temperatures.

    Wild berries, e.g.  lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccos, V. microcarpum) and cultivated blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) are excellent sources of polyphenols.

    What we studied

    In our studies conducted in the Department of Pharmacology in University of Helsinki we wanted to investigate the effects of cranberry, lingonberry and blackcurrant juices on vascular function and blood pressure in experimental model of hypertension.

    At first, vascular function was studied after 8 weeks consumption of cold-compressed cranberry, lingonberry and blackcurrant juices. Interestingly, in lingonberry treated group vascular dysfunction was totally abolished. Thus, we decided to continue to further studies with lingonberry juice. We wanted to clarify how lingonberry juice affects increased blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats and what are the effects in normotensive rats consuming high-salt diet. High salt intake is one risk of the factors of hypertension. Low-grade inflammation was studied, as it is related to hypertension and vascular dysfunction.

    What we found

    We found that lingonberries have potential. The established high blood pressure of spontaneously hypertensive rats became lowered during an eight-week treatment with lingonberry juice. However, more concentrated lingonberry juice was unable to prevent the strong genetic development of hypertension in young rats. Yet, more concentrated lingonberry juice was able to normalize vascular function of mesenteric arteries in this experimental model.  So it looks like lingonberry juice has the ability to enhance vascular function in this experimental model, but the perfect dose still needs to be established.

    Lingonberry juice also affected positively on inflammatory markers in these experimental models. After lingonberry juice treatment, serum levels of both angiotensin II and alkaline phosphatase were lower than in the control groups.  These are important markers for monitoring inflammation and incidence of cardiovascular diseases. Reduced gene expression of cyclooxygenase 2, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, p-selectin and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 partly indicates possible anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effects of the lingonberry juice.

    Possible mechanisms behind these positive effects on hypertension and vascular function may be the inhibition of renin-angiotensin system together with enhanced nitric oxide production. These processes are also targets of antihypertensive drugs.

    Conclusions

    Taken together, a long-term treatment with lingonberry juice lowered blood pressure and improved vascular function in an experimental model of hypertension.  The possible mechanisms of these positive cardiovascular effects are related to important body homeostasis regulator, renin-angiotensin system and enhanced nitric oxide bioavailability. Furthermore, lingonberry possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which may well contribute to its beneficial health effects.

    In addition to fibres and minerals lingonberries contain moderate, but not high amounts of vitamins like C, A, some B-group vitamins. Vitamin E concentration is fairly good, 1.5 mg/100g. The real power of the lingonberries are phenolic compounds, flavonols, anthocyanins, proanthocyanins, quercetin and stilbenes to name a few. Interestingly, lingonberries contains high amounts of resveratrol, which is usually associated with grapes and red wines.

    There is a lack of clinical studies conducted with lingonberries or lingonberry products. Results from these experimental studies cannot be directly extrapolated to humans.  Clinical evidence is essential in order to give any claims of the health benefits. However, it has been shown, that moderate reduction of blood pressure and enhanced vascular function is possible to achieve with polyphenol-rich foods.

    Lingonberries really have the potential for a superfruit!

    References:

    Kivimäki A.          Lingonberry juice, blood pressure, vascular function and inflammatory markers in experimental hypertension.  http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-5631-0

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 11 May
    Cacao-fruit juice – unlocking the next generation of drinks

    Cacao-fruit juice – unlocking the next generation of drinks

     

     

    The cacaofruit is on the rise and several industries start using this unique fruit for products such as sweet snacks and chocolate. But what is so special about this somehow well-known and at the same time unknown fruit? And what can it do for beverages?

    Everybody knows chocolate and cocoa, but hardly anyone knows where it actually comes from. Chocolate is made from the seeds of the cacaofruit. For centuries, the cacaofruit has been harvested for its seeds (beans). Over time, the association with fruit became lost. However, just like an apple or orange, the cacaofruit has its own uniquely fruity taste. About 14 million tonnes of cacaofruits are harvested around the world each year to craft chocolate. Because only its seeds were used, 70% of the fruit was discarded as waste.

    Cabosse Naturals, a brand of chocolate producer Barry Callebaut, decided this had to change and developed an innovative and unprecedented up-cycling supply chain to harness the natural richness of the cacaofruit. So now not only the seeds, but also the rest of the fruit can be used for multiple purposes and interesting applications in beverages.

    Origins of the fruit

    The journey of the cacaofruit starts in the tropical regions around the Equator on farms where the cacaofruit trees grow. Once ripe, the colourful fruits are harvested by hand, cleaned and opened to remove the seeds (beans) from the fresh white pulp.

    Traditionally, the cacaofruit seeds were used for chocolate, meaning that 70% of the fruit was completely discarded. Now, thanks to Cabosse Naturals, the entire fruit is upcycled. The cacaofruit cascara, which accounts for 45% of the complete cacaofruit, is dried and ground into a fine nutritious flour.

    Fruity flavours

    The cacaofruit pulp is quickly pressed into juice to preserve the fresh aromas of the fruit. Afterwards the cacaofruit juice is filtered, gently pasteurized and concentrated to obtain the cacaofruit juice concentrate.

    Time is of essence in this process and that is why the processing of the pulp needs to be done shortly after the opening of the fruit and close to the farms. The pulp and the juice of this exotic fruit are processed into delicious ingredients which surprise with their unique and zesty fruity flavor.

    The cacaofruit pulp has a clean, fresh white colour and a sweet scent of fruity honey.

    With its pleasant zesty, fruity flavour, the cacaofruit pulp has a uniquely refreshing signature taste that brings natural sweetness and delightfully refreshing fruity notes to beverages, but also ice creams and sorbet. It is a very interesting ingredient for smoothies, since it brings a natural thickness into the products and adds both sweetness and a fruity taste.

    The cacaofruit juice is characterized by a unique zesty fruitiness, making it a very refreshing fruit base for a large range of beverages. It has a golden brown colour with a fruity scent and naturally contains magnesium and potassium. The cacaofruit juice is particularly suited for the usage in beverages such as juice mixes to bring a delicious and exotic flavour.

    The third ingredient for beverage applications, the cacaofruit juice concentrate, adds an intense fruity sweetness and a unique signature flavour to drinks, sorbets and ice creams.

    Opportunity

    With its natural sweetness and zesty fruitiness, cacaofruit is also an interesting ingredient for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. Its unique flavor matches well with a wide range of alcoholic beverages and meets the demand for new and exotic flavours.

    Today’s consumers show an increasing interest in health and wellbeing with a desire to live happy, healthy lives. This is particularly important to millennials and centennials, who have distinctive tastes and desires in their food and beverage choices. Their understanding of ‘happiness’ extends beyond themselves and into the world around them. Therefore, food and drinks need to not only be delicious and nutritious, but must also have a positive impact on the planet and its people. Millennials and centennials are making more conscious decisions about the food and beverage choices in their daily life. They want products that are considered to be healthy and that they can feel good about buying.

    With its range of 100% pure cacaofruit ingredients, Cabosse Naturals, unlocks a next generation of food and drinks, that are not only tasty but also nutritious and good for the planet and its people.

    To fully harness the potential of the cacaofruit, Cabosse Naturals teamed up with European B2B-Food-Ingredients Supplier Bösch Boden Spies to promote and supply the European beverage industry with this unique, nutrient rich and exciting upcycled fruit.

    For more information please contact e: dirk.naujoks@BoeschBodenSpies.com
     

    BoeschBodenSpies.com

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 11 May
    Turkey – Export surge during a pandemic, how long can this drive be maintained?

    Turkey – Export surge during a pandemic, how long can this drive be maintained?

     

    In May of 2019, Fruit Juice Focus told you the story of the rise in Juice exports from Turkey through an introduction to the Turkish Fruit Juice Industry Association (MEYED).  It’s been two years with one of COVID-19. Turkey is back to a nationwide curfew.  Remer Lane reports

    Import and export data

    Juice exports during 2020 from Turkey reached an all-time high of US USD393 million up 151% from 2019 while imported values increased by 567% to an all-time high of USD70 million, up from USD12 million in 2019. The biggest beneficiaries as suppliers to Turkey were China, Iran and Brazil who accounted for 63% of all supply.

    Of this, the primary product from China was Apple Juice Concentrate, from Iran also Apple Juice Concentrate and from Brazil Orange Juice Concentrate. Since, 2015, the Unites States has been the largest recipient of exported juices from Turkey accounting for 38% of total exports by value. Exports to the US between 2019 and 2020 saw a 186% increase in value reaching approximately USD150 million up from USD80 million.

    The key export to the US is Apple Juice Concentrate accounting for 69% of imports at USD102 million. The European Union accounts for 34% of Turkey’s exports of fruit juice at USD135 million, with the Netherlands accounting for 28%, at USD38 million.

    Apple Juice Concentrate accounts for 48% of the EU imports of fruit juice from Turkey followed by an equal amount in mixtures of fruit and vegetable juices. In total, Apple Juice Concentrate is the leader in Turkish juice exports at USD186 million accounting for 47% of total exports followed by Juices of fruits or vegetables unfermented with or without added sweeteners at 38% or USD153 million.

    Apple juice fortunes rise

    In 2019, Turkey overtook Austria to become the 3rd largest supplier or Apple Juice Concentrate to the world market. While China and Poland still lead the global supplier list, their quantities and total values have seen modest reductions while Turkey’s continues to grow. (Data derived from ITC Trade Map).

    Turkish exports of Apple Juice Concentrate (AJC) to the US market in 2021 have shown no let-up from their 2020 surge. Year-to-date as of April 24th, 2021, Turkey follows Chile as the key supplier of Organic Apple Juice Concentrate at USD502 thousand versus Chile at USD638 thousand. As to conventional AJC, Turkey is the leading supplier to the US reaching USD46 million YTD followed by China at USD39 million and Chile at USD16 million. (USDA National Apple Processing Report 29/04/21)

    Key strategies pay off

    Turkey has taken the lessons from Europe and transitioned from a single source supplier to a combination of supplying from their own production and blending with imported product to develop the right acid, colour and flavour profiles sought by US and EU buyers giving them the ability to improve their competitiveness and grow their market share. We look forward to seeing just how far Turkey can grow.

    What does the future hold . . .

    There are challenges ahead and the continued devaluation of the Turkish Lira to the USD and EURO from its peak in 2008 to today has been dramatic. The sharpest fall came in 2018 with a 34% fall against the USD with inflation shooting above 25%. In March of 2021, the Turkish Lira crashed again falling 15% against the USD with the sacking of the country’s central banker who was tightening monetary policy. Inflation is currently at 15% and interest rates are at 19%. How long Turkey can maintain their export surge and competitive supply should be taken with a cautionary grain of salt for global buyers.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 11 May
    The market for ‘Water Plus’ – where juice is concerned

    The market for ‘Water Plus’ – where juice is concerned

     

    ‘Water plus’ drinks typically capture the market of consumers seeking a tastier and more varied alternative to plain water, writes Christina Avison, Associate Director – Commercial at Zenith Global. They also provide a healthier alternative to carbonated soft drinks (CSDs).

    Water plus products are divided into three main segments: flavoured water, functional water and juicy water. Natural ingredients including fruit juice content are highly valued by adopters of water plus for flavour enhancement and for providing ‘clean’ ingredients.

    The water plus market in the UK struggled in 2020, dominated by the impact of the global coronavirus crisis. The restrictions that were put in place to curb the infection rate of the virus that most affected water plus consumption were the closure of the hospitality and leisure channels. Alongside this, the requirement for people to stay local and work from home, where possible, resulted in a drop in impulse shopping.

    To a certain extent, demand shifted to take home grocery retail, however, this was not enough to prevent a significant overall volume decline as the number of consumer purchase occasions were restricted. At the same, many also switched to tap water with added flavourings like squash, cordials and juice to replace flavoured still water whilst at home. All of these factors combined contributed to reduce the overall market volume and value.

    Volume market headlines

    Total water plus consumption declined by 12% to 450 million litres in 2020. This equated to per capita consumption of 6.6 litres, down by 1 litre per person, from 7.6 litres in the previous year.

    Flavoured water was the largest segment by volume, with 390 million litres sold, accounting for 87% of total sector volume, up from 86% in 2019. Despite making market share gain, its annual volume fell for the second consecutive year, by nearly 11%, performing ahead of the wider water plus market.

    The juicy water segment fell at a rate of 17% to 45 million litres in 2020. This equates to a 10% share of the total water plus market.

    Functional water saw its volumes fall back from 16.5 million litres in 2019 to 13.5 million litres in 2020. This meant it had a share of 3% of the total water plus market. With a volume decline of 18%, functional water was the most significant hit sector by the pandemic.

    Value worse hit by the pandemic

    Looking at value performance, it is juicy water – with its high exposure to convenience and impulse – that suffered the worst in 2020. The value declined by 38%, dropping from £150 million in 2019 to £93 million in 2020.

    Functional water faired a little better but was impacted most by both the closure of gyms and the drop in impulse demand, falling by 26% to £34 million in 2020.

    Flavoured water held up better due to its higher presence in the retail take home segment and significantly lower price point. A staple of supermarket water aisles, flavoured water overall declined nearly 17% on 2019 to reach £303 million.

    Fizz forges ahead

    Still water plus volumes slipped last year, meanwhile sparkling water plus also declined but to a lesser extent, increasing market share from 34% to 36%. This was largely driven by new seltzer launches and the rapid adaptability of canned sparkling water plus brands to move towards case pack online sales during the pandemic.

    Sparkling water drinks across both plain and plus also appealed to a number of new customers, as consumers who were unable to dine out sought to elevate the at-home dining experience by purchasing more sparkling beverages to accompany their meal.

    Juicy water and the soft seltzer trend

    The UK juicy water segment is dominated by the leading two brands, Drench Juicy, produced by Britvic, and Volvic Juicy, produced by Danone Waters. Together, these brands command half of the segment in the UK and both are still water brands.

    There is still huge space for juicy waters in the market as well as growth potential in the future. Especially of interest is the expanding sparkling juicy water segment with brands like Nichols-owned Feel Good Drinks (which contain 15% real fruit juice), Danone’s Volvic L’mon (25% fruit juice), Britvic’s Aqua Libra, Nestlé Waters’ San Pellegrino Essenza, and Le Joli from AG Barr.

    Also making waves are those brands without big corporate backing, like Dash Water, Ugly Water and Dalston’s Seltzers.

    These are often referred to as ‘soft seltzers’; beverages that tend to attract a different type of consumer from traditional water plus, providing that ‘cold can’ feeling that sodas provide, but without any sugar or artificial ingredients as found in sugary soft drinks.

    This acceleration of healthier water drinks with higher juice content and low- or no-added sugar, largely driven by the UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy, has helped consumers become more familiar with less sweet drinks, and are educating their palettes to a dryer, less-sweet taste.

    The challenge in this space is both internal and external perception; are these high-juice, low-sugar products premium sparkling flavoured waters or sparkling juicy waters, soft seltzers, fruitful sparkling waters or adult soft drinks? The category lines are most definitely blurring and consumers and producers alike differ on terminology.

    And once you add other things to water, when does it stop being a water drink?

    Zenith Global’s UK Water Drinks Reports 2021, covering plain, flavoured, functional and juicy waters are available to purchase from www.zenithglobal.com/market-insights/reports.

     

    Zenith Global’s Water Plus Definitions

    Flavoured water

    Sweetened with sugar, sweetener or unsweetened with added fruit essence; sparkling and still natural mineral, spring or bottled drinking water with added flavourings.

    Functional water

    Functional waters have added functional ingredients, such as botanicals, vitamins, minerals, oxygen or others. Functional waters can be still or sparkling and can be flavoured or unflavoured. Such waters are marketed as having a functional positioning.

    Juicy water

    Defined as water with added juice, juice content ranges from 5% to 25-30%. However, the key attribute is consumer perception of such products as being water plus juice as opposed to a juice drink. These drinks are perceived by consumers to be closer to flavoured waters than juices/nectars.

    Water plus

    Water plus includes flavoured waters, functional waters and juicy waters as defined above.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 10 Mar
    FCOJ update – May 2021

    FCOJ update – May 2021

    FCOJ futures were lower over the last few months and are now threatening to make new contract lows.  There were no problems noted with the Winter weather as freezes stayed well away from Florida.  Some freezes were noted in Texas and northern Mexico, but it did not get cold enough for long enough to seriously hurt production in these areas.  Now the weather is warmer but some areas in Texas and Mexico still need precipitation.  California has also been dry but growers have access to irrigation for the crops in the state.

    An abnormally cold air mass moved into the Great Plains and as far south as southern Mexico a few months ago.  The headlines featured the loss of infrastructure in Texas, but the cold could have injured crops.  Most affected would be the crops in southern Texas and northeastern Mexico.  It was cold enough to damage flowers in these areas and some of the foliage as well, but probably not cold enough for long enough to affect the trees.  Ideas are that the area affected by cold might have lost a little production.  These areas have also been dry so the flowers have been delayed and the production losses might not be that much.  Western Mexico and into California have also been dry.  Central and southern Mexico and Sao Paulo state in Brazil are all in good condition, although it remains dry in Sao Paulo.  Trees are not showing stress yet in Sao Paulo but might if the dry conditions continue.  That will affect the international market more than the US market for now.

    Demand is starting to shift away from FCOJ as people in the US get vaccines in arms.  Consumption from food operations is down a lot as no one is dining out very much.  Consumption at home is fading.  There are hopes that people can finally start to venture out a bit more and maybe even go to restaurants.  It’s an exciting prospect to many consumers who have been mostly locked at home for months.  The hope is that people will start to consume more FCOJ away from home and in the restaurants.  The big hope is that consumers will continue to consume more juice even with the end of the pandemic, but this is not guaranteed and is currently not the case as demand overall has been weaker.  Most likely there will be some who stay drinking juice, but many more who stop juice and drink other things or take pills for their vitamins and minerals.

     

     

    Florida weather has remained mostly good for crops.  Most areas have seen enough rain for good tree and fruit growth.  Total fruit production on the trees is less this year so there will be less production.  The next major weather event is coming and is the hurricane season.  Ideas are that the Atlantic season could be more active this year and this might be the next chance for a major rally in prices.  A big storm could hit the state and hurt the trees.  Fruit could drop from the trees too, but that will mostly affect fresh consumption.  The dropped fruit usually is collected and sent to processors, so a rally becomes counter intuitive in FCOJ.  A big hurricane often means more production of FCOJ even with less oranges due to the fruit drop scenario.  So, any rally caused byu a storm can be short lived as the rally will allow the processors favorable prices for hedging and the processors will take the good price.  That means that futures can spike higher, but almost immediately work back lower to absord the potentially increased FCOJ production at the expense of fresh consumption.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 09 Mar
    Wellness – Feeding the mind

    Wellness – Feeding the mind

     

    New consumer research from Kerry reveals that mind-body beverage benefits will drive consumer demand

    New consumer research carried out by Kerry, the world’s leading taste and nutrition company, reveals that 65% of functional beverage consumers are more worried about their health since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The whitepaper, Understanding Consumer Drivers in Beverages, examines the key health priorities that will drive the functional beverage market with 2,662 beverage consumers across the UK, Germany, Poland and Spain surveyed as part of the research. When asked about the health concerns that have become more important since the emergence of COVID-19, 59% of respondents cited immunity while 50% said mental health is now a priority. The research has also indicated that consumers prefer beverages with natural ingredients however, there is a high level of acceptance for fortification with 39% of Europeans now placing more importance on fortification when it comes to their health.

    “We believe that the functional beverage category will gain traction as lifestyle consumers tune into an expected surge in new product launches with many targeting more holistic attitudes towards health, diet and lifestyle,” says Breda Kelly, Kerry’s Nutritional Beverage Lead for Europe and Russia.

    “Our consumer research shows that there is a growing demand for products that address a broad spectrum of health concerns, but in particular immunity and mental health support. While immune health is top of mind at the moment and is the most important health concern since the onset of the pandemic, younger age groups are worried about body-mind wellness and their mental health, meaning that there is an opportunity to create products to address these concerns.”

    Increasing consumer demand

    As the market for products with functional and nutritional benefits grows, there is increasing consumer demand for formats that meet the needs of different occasions and deliver ease and convenience of consumption. The research also found that just over half of all Europeans attach equal importance to taste and delivery of the benefit.

    The functional beverage market is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 6.0% through to 2025 as more consumers reach for beverages with added benefits. For manufacturers seeking to innovate in the beverage space, there are opportunities for different offerings such as functionality in hot drinks like tea and hot chocolate.

    “We think the opportunity to create iconic products is still ahead of us. Brands will need to communicate the key benefits of the products while also delivering on taste and texture. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for beverages with a functional benefit and will repurchase if that benefit is proven to work. This means that manufacturers need to use ingredients that are backed by science and trusted by consumers,” adds Breda.

    https://www.kerry.com/europe-en/Explore/Consumer-Drivers-in-Functional-Beverage  to download the whitepaper

    About Kerry

    Kerry, the Taste & Nutrition company, offers solutions that nourish lives all over the world. From humble beginnings as an Irish dairy co-operative, Kerry has grown into a large international food industry leader, with offices in 32 countries, 149 manufacturing facilities and more than 26,000 employees globally, including over 1,000 food scientists. We bring to the table our strong food heritage, coupled with over 40 years of experience, global insights and market knowledge, culinary and applications expertise, as well as a range of unique solutions that anticipate and address our customers’ needs.

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 09 Mar
    Fruit juice and the fitness industry

    Fruit juice and the fitness industry

     

    Duncan Lynch, Research Analyst, Zenith Global provides some insights for FJF readers

    Society as a whole is repeatedly being told to consume more fruit and vegetables. According to UK government figures in 2018, only 31% of adults and 8% of teenagers consumed the recommended five portions daily. Fruit juice, therefore, is a convenient way of squeezing in those extra portions.

    However, according to Zenith Global’s globaldrinks.com database, whilst on the whole demand for healthful beverages has been rising over the last five years, the total volume of fruit juice has been in steady decline in both North America and Western Europe with an increase in price propping up revenue totals.

    One might have thought that juice and physical fitness should go hand in hand, but amongst the fitness industry and fitness professionals, fruit juice has a mixed reputation and has done for several years.

    This, in part, has been driven by the health concerns surrounding fruit juice. Juices have a relatively high sugar content and calorific value. Even natural juices that boast the popular tagline ‘no added sugar’ contain a high amount of naturally occurring sugars. A pint of orange juice contains more calories than the equivalent volume of lemonade or lager. Another factor is the comparative lack of nutrients compared to fresh fruit.

    Despite the most common criticisms from the fitness industry, it has helped to drive innovation, allowing juice to play a role in helping people achieve their goals in muscle gain or fat loss. The fresh juice and smoothie bar industry grew nearly 7% between 2015 and 2018, driven by the rapid rise in the appearance of such outlets in close proximity to or within gyms and leisure centres. Whilst this growth in a more health-conscious society is likely to be dampened by Covid restrictions, Zenith Global expects to see these long-term trends of growth and popularity continuing amongst fresh juice.

    This increased demand comes, in part, from the variety and control it gives consumers. The fitness industry encourages consumers to track what they eat and drink and fresh juicing gives them greater control over their choices. They are also able to add protein powders, creatine and other supplements to tailor the juice to their individual needs. Furthermore, the concerns over the loss of nutrients in pre-packaged products are somewhat alleviated as the whole fruit is normally blended.

    Trying to compete with the juice and smoothie bar market, there has been an increase in the number of pre-packaged functional juices, promising enhanced performance with added vitamins and minerals from products such as chia and flax seeds. With the global functional beverage market expected to grow by more than 8% in 2021, one of the market leaders, Tropicana, relaunched its functional juice range in 2020. The brand now better highlights its benefits to consumers who want to live a healthy lifestyle. Whilst consumers lose some of the control compared to freshly made juices, they still gain many of the benefits with increased convenience.

    Consumers are also interested in trying new and innovative products, especially those which are reported to improve athletic performance. Tart cherry juice has increased in popularity over the last few years with endurance athletes in particular for this reason. The cherries contain a high concentration of anthocyanins renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties, but they are also shown to reduce muscle damage and fatigue and improve brain function, with sales forecast to increase further to 2025.

    Vegetable juices have long been overlooked for their taste but within the fitness industry especially they are increasing in popularity due to their high levels of minerals and vitamins and lower sugar levels. With improvements in technology and flavour profiles, the taste has been improved for many consumers. This is often achieved by mixing vegetables with a relatively small amount of sweet fruit juice, such as apple.

    Beetroot juice is one of the leaders within vegetable juices with the market expected to achieve small volume growth by 2025. Beetroot juice is packed with dietary nitrates which reduce the oxygen expended during exercise. Shots of rhubarb juice are being used by athletes to offer the same benefits as beetroot juice but removes the need for sweeteners.

    Zenith Global acknowledges the important role fruit juice still has to play in the fitness industry, but demands are changing. The increase in the popularity of vegetable juices and functional fruit juices and smoothies looks likely to continue. The products being used and promoted by elite athletes are likely to make their way into the mainstream market over the next few years as consumers try to improve their health and fitness, especially in the post-lockdown world we hope to be living in soon.

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
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