As consumers look for new and better ways to help the planet, a multitude of companies are creating products to help eco-conscious shoppers be more “green.” Juice companies have been particularly innovative in sustainability efforts. Capitalizing on the use of natural fruit as a key juice ingredient, many beverage companies have jumped at the opportunity to make fruit-based beverages better for consumers and the planet. But still, they’ve continued experimenting with unique flavor innovations.
Fruits such as blueberry, cranberry and pomegranate are increasingly in demand because of their high nutrient and antioxidant content. In many countries, these fruits are known as “superfruits.” Longer-established superfruits such as cranberry and blueberry remain popular in juices, while new superfruits such as pomegranate, goji and açai are gaining popularity. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), pomegranate has been the most active of the superfruits in the juice sector, showing a 300% global increase from 2005 to 2007.
In the United States, Zola Superfruit Juices highlight a multitude of health benefits while also implementing sustainable practices and programs. This unique juice line includes an organic Açai + Blueberry flavor that is loaded with antioxidants, healthy omega fats, iron, calcium, vitamins and minerals. Also available are Açai Original and Açai + Pineapple varieties. Zola uses unfiltered pulp from hand-harvested, organic açai berries. The company also funds educational programs and a school and medical care for the Brazilian people who sustainably harvest the açai berries.
Also in the United States, Bossa Nova Superfruit Juices are available in unique flavors that incorporate both traditional fruits and superfruits. Combinations include Acerola with Mango, Acerola with Peach, Mangosteen with Passionfruit, Mangosteen with Dragonfruit and Goji Berry Tart Cherry.
To compliment hot summer weather, many companies introduce fun, tropical juice flavors such as mango and guava. From Q1 to Q2 of this year, mango juice flavors enjoyed a 50% increase globally, while grapefruit incorporations jumped more than 250%, according to Mintel GNPD. Many of these beverages also boast sustainable practices to further distinguish their brands.
United Kingdom-based Innocent Drinks is a prime example of a company that produces sustainable products while also driving flavor innovation. Purchasing fruit from growers who adhere to ethical standards regarding care of the environment and their workers, Innocent also uses bottles made from 100% recycled materials. Beyond its environmental efforts, Innocent recently extended its natural smoothie line with the introduction of two seasonal varieties. Innocent Seasonal Smoothies are available in Lychees and Purple Passion Fruits for spring 2008. Also available in this range is a smoothie for summer, which is available in Mangoes, Coconuts and Lemongrass flavor.
For those who enjoy refreshing fruit juice with a twist, Mintel GNPD sees several new juice products with non-traditional ingredients. Vegetables, herbs and spices are just a few examples of ingenious new flavors being paired with traditional fruit juices.
In Spain, Coca-Cola recently introduced a natural, additive-free lemonade with a spicy twist. Minute Maid Lemonade with a Touch of Cardamom contains no preservatives and gives people a unique twist on a favorite summertime beverage. Cardamom is an aromatic spice from the ginger family that is not often seen in cold beverages, making it an intriguing pairing for natural lemonade.
In the Netherlands, Rootz Purefruit Liquid Blended Fruit Nectar is made with organic, sun-ripened fruit and wheatgrass. Its unique flavors include Apple, Blackcurrant & Wheatgrass and Mango, Apple, Banana & Wheatgrass. The products contain no additives, are 100% organic and are produced in a factory that uses solar panels and wind energy.
From natural and organic ingredients to carbon-neutral products to fair-trade sourcing, new juices around the globe offer consumers a wealth of eco-friendly options. As concern for the environment and personal wellness becomes increasingly important to consumers, it is those products that achieve a balance between flavor innovation and sustainable practices that will continue to stand out in a crowded segment.
Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. For more information, visit www.mintel.com or call 1-312-932-0600.