• 11 Sep
    Europe – Refresco to purchase German beverage company Hansa-Heeman

    Europe – Refresco to purchase German beverage company Hansa-Heeman

    Refresco has entered into an agreement to acquire Hansa-Heemann, a German mineral water and carbonated soft drinks (CSD) company.The deal forms part of Refresco’s buy-and-build strategy and further enhances its position in terms of product and brand portfolio and geographical coverage. The independent bottler has five production sites across Germany and serves three different market segments: private label, own brands and contract manufacturing for A-brands. Hansa-Heeman reportedly has annual revenues of approximately EUR300 million and employs over 800 people.

    With the acquisition, Refresco will expand its offering in water and CSDs with brands such as Fūrst Bismarck, Hella and St. Michaelis. Upon completion, Refresco will enhance its presence in Germany, thus improving its transport efficiencies and reducing CO2 emissions.

    Hans Roelofs, CEO of Refresco Group commented: “This acquisition will further diversify our business and product offering, which will benefit our customers. Refresco Germany and Hansa-Heeman are highly complementary and through this acquisition, we will be able to offer nationwide coverage to German retailers.” The transaction was made for an undisclosed sum and is subject to regulatory approval. foodbev

    By Caroline Calder News
  • 11 Sep
    Europe – Good news for fighting disease and building immunity

    Europe – Good news for fighting disease and building immunity

    A new research review, published in Frontiers in Immunology, has found that a simple glass of citrus juice contains key nutrients and bioactive substances that help our immune system to work efficiently. Scientists examined evidence from nearly 200 different studies and reports, and concluded that vitamin C, folate and polyphenol compounds in citrus juices have the capacity to impact on immune health, fight inflammation and improve our defence against bacteria and viruses.

    Co-author, Philip Calder, Professor of Nutritional Immunology at Southampton University, said: “A weak immune system increases susceptibility to infections and allows these to become more severe. One component of the immune response is inflammation. Where inflammation is excessive or uncontrolled it can damage body tissues, sometimes irreparably, and affect our ability to fight infections. Having a diet rich in antioxidant foods and drinks is one way to control inflammation and ensure the body can mount an effective immune response. Trials in humans confirm that orange juice consumption reduces inflammation.

    “Citrus fruit juices are particularly good sources of vitamin C and folate, which have roles in strengthening the gut and skin barriers which are our first line of defence against viruses and bacteria. In addition, these nutrients – which are absorbed well from fruit juices –support the function of many types of immune cells including phagocytes, natural killer cells, T-cells and B-cells.

    “Another area of research is the bioactive polyphenols found in citrus fruit juices which include hesperidin, narirutin and naringin. These not only have anti-inflammatory effects but could also have direct anti-viral effects according to emerging data from modelling studies”.

    Dr Carrie Ruxton, from the Fruit Juice Science Centre, comments: “The evidence about the positive role that fruit juices play in the diet continues to build. We know from several large studies that a daily glass of pure fruit juice provides vitamin C, folate and potassium, can help to lower blood pressure, and reduces the risk of stroke. Now it’s clear that citrus juices can also contribute to immune health which is crucial as we all get back to our normal lives”. PRNewswire

    By Caroline Calder News
  • 19 Jul
    Crop round-up July/Aug 2021

    Crop round-up July/Aug 2021

    While orange production is up in regions such as Brazil, Florida, South Africa, Morocco and the EU, analysts say there are minor concerns about whether the global supply of orange juice will be sufficient to meet demand in the first half of 2022.


    The USDA’s final forecast on Florida’s 2020/21 orange crop is 52.8 million boxes. The total is comprised of 22.7 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, midseason, and Navel varieties), unchanged from the June forecast, and 30.1 million boxes of Valencia oranges, up slightly from the June forecast. USDA




    The production of oranges in South Africa is estimated to increase by 2% to 1.65 million tonnes in 2020/21, from 1.62 million tonnes the year before. The USDA projects that 285 000 tonnes of oranges will be processed in 2020/21, against 282 000 tonnes the year before.

    The production of orange juice is estimated to increase by 1% to 50 000 tonnes in 2020/21, from 49 494 tonnes in 2019/20.

    Concentrated orange juice accounts for at least 90% of the total orange juice produced in South Africa. The South African citrus industry prioritizes the export of fresh citrus, and only processes the fruit that does not meet export standards.

    The USDA estimates that exports of orange juice in 2020/21 will increase significantly to 40 000 tonnes, from 29 549 tonnes the year before. USDA



    In 2020/21, orange production in Turkey is estimated to decrease to 1.3 million tonnes, which is 23% lower than in 2019/20 (1.7 million tonnes), due to excessive hot weather conditions in May 2020 during the blooming period.

    Volumes for processing are also projected to decline in 2020/21, but to a lesser degree, to 105 000 tonnes from 110 000 tonnes the year before. USDA



    Orange production in 2020/21 in Morocco is forecast at 1.10 million tonnes, against 806 000 tonnes the year before. The USDA expects the volume of oranges for processing to reach 50 000 tonnes, compared with 35 000 tonnes in 2019/20. This will equate to 5 000 tonnes of orange juice (65 brix equivalent) in 2020/21, against 3 500 tonnes the year before. USDA



    Commercial apple production in Chile in 2021 is expected to fall to 1.095 million tonnes 5% lower than the 1.115 million tonnes produced the previous year. USDA



    Total apple production in New Zealand for 2020/21 is forecast at 543 000 tonnes, 8% lower than the year before. USDA



    The USDA’S forecast for Florida grapefruit production is unchanged at 4.10 million boxes. Of the total grapefruit forecast, 620 000 boxes are white and 3.48 million boxes are the red varieties. USDA



    The production of grapefruit in South Africa is estimated to increase by 8% to 373 000 tonnes in 2020/21, from 344 626 tonnes the previous year.

    On average, 29% of total grapefruit produced is used for processing. The USDA estimates that the volume of grapefruit delivered for processing will increase by 12% to 105 000 tonnes in 2020/21, from 94 000 tonnes the year before. Grapefruit is processed to juice and concentrate, the majority of which is exported to Europe. USDA



    Lemon production in 2021 in Argentina is forecast at 1.15 million tonnes, against 1.49 million tonnes in 2020. The same report projected the volume of lemons for processing at 831 000 tonnes, compared with 1.08 million tonnes the year before. USDA



    EU lemon production in 2020/21 is forecast to increase by almost 12% on the previous year to 1.6 million tonnes. USDA



    In 2020/21, lemon production in Turkey reached 1.1 million tonnes, which is 13% higher than during the 2019/20 season (950 000 tonnes). Lemons earmarked for the processing industry in 2020/21 are expected to remain unchanged on the previous year at 50 000 tonnes. USDA



    Commercial grape production in Chile in 2020/21 is expected to decrease to 615 000 tonnes, 21% lower than the 780 000 tonnes produced the previous year. USDA



    China’s peach and nectarine production is estimated at 16 million tonnes in 2021 (Jan-Dec), an increase of nearly 7% from the previous year.

    Cherry production is forecast at 600 000 tonnes in 2021/22 (Apr 2021-Mar 2022), an increase of 15% from 2020/21. USDA





    By Caroline Calder Trade Data
  • 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
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