Round-Up - NPD: Redefining Fresh - Cold-Pressed Juices Invigorate Packaged Beverages

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This month, Tom Vierhile from Datamonitor considers the latest entrants into the cold pressed juices category.

A growing force in the world's juice bars, cold-pressed juices are staking their claim to be the “next big thing” in packaged beverages as product launches multiply and consumer enthusiasm grows.

The proliferation of juice bars globally is a result of the advancement of juicing beyond juice cleanse and detox aficionados to the general public. The mass market increasingly sees cold-pressed juice as a quick, easy, high-quality way to boost fruit and vegetable consumption. Technology plays a part too. New “cold” processing technology like high pressure pascualisation/processing (HPP) uses high pressure to destroy pathogens instead of heat (like traditional pasteurisation), preserving heat-sensitive vitamins, enzymes and nutrients while producing a fresher-tasting drink with an extended shelf life.

Packaged cold-pressed juices in the US are currently paced by brands like Hain Celestial’s BluePrint Cleanse and Starbucks’ Evolution Fresh, but the market has plenty of room for newcomers. Acquisition activity speaks to the potential of the sector. In late-2012, Hain Celestial bought BluePrint Cleanse and expects the brand to exceed US$100m in sales in 2014 (up from $20m in 2012). Starbucks punched its cold pressed juice ticket in 2011 with the acquisition of Evolution Fresh. Last Fall, Starbucks announced the opening of a new $70m juicery for the brand that quadrupled Evolution Fresh’s cold pressed juice capacity.

Upstart independent Suja is another one to watch, and is expected to hit $50m in sales this year – not bad for a company barely two years old.

New product introductions point to growing interest in green beverages as a way to boost intake of leafy, green vegetables that are nutrient dense, but lack convenience. Evolution Fresh more than doubled its HPP green juice portfolio in 2014 with three new, cold-pressed green juices. Coconut Water & Greens is hailed as a “tasty introduction to green juice” with its coconut water, cucumber, leafy greens and splash of pineapple. Smooth Greens mixes leafy greens with pineapple, apple, mint, and cucumber, while Organic Sweet Greens & Ginger has a “spicy ginger kick”.

BluePrint Cleanse could push cold-pressed drinks beyond juice. Coffee Cashew Non-Dairy Beverage is a new, cold-brewed, Fair Trade-certified coffee with a less acidic taste than hot brewed coffee. The drink has seven grams of protein per serving, thanks to the cashew ingredient, plus trace minerals like zinc, copper and magnesium. Also new is Apple Lemon Cayenne Ginger 100% Juice which provides a “noticeable kick” compared to regular apple juice. Retail prices for the duo – $11.99 for Coffee Cashew to $9.99 for Spicy Apple – reflect the reality that cold-pressed juice is pricey.

Pricing and sugar contents have emerged as pain points for the cold-pressed juice segment so far, although progress is being made. Suja’s new Essentials line of “cold-pressured” beverages has about 20% less sugar than other brands, and is also priced (at $3.99 per 12oz bottle) to put the HPP line on a collision course with pasteurised, super-premium juices like Naked and Odwalla.

The latter juices are typically sold in chilled cases alongside fruits and vegetables, a locale that has proven to be a winner. Nielsen recently noted that US sales volume for so-called “produce department beverages” including fruit juices and smoothies expanded by 14.2% for the year to the end of June. This sector has been growing at rapid pace for some time, posting a stellar compound annual growth rate of 17.5% in sales volume for the four-year period from 2009 to 2013, says Nielsen.

Cold-pressed juices are also expanding in markets outside of the US. In Japan, a new cold pressed line under the “Why Juice?” banner uses locally-sourced ingredients (that have passed Fukushima-inspired radioactivity inspections) and comprises novel combinations of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Spice Up counts cayenne pepper, lemon, pineapple and kale as ingredients, while “R” Detox marries rosemary, coriander, beets, carrot and apple. In the UK, Mello Drinks recently introduced a line of raw, fresh melon juices under the Mello banner. Cantaloupe and Watermelon juices have “all of the goodness of raw melon, bottled” thanks to HPP technology. Whether or not an HPP juice can truly be called “raw” has become a subject of debate, and the question has not been settled yet.

There is no debate that consumers need to eat more fruit and vegetables. A recent study commissioned by the Nutrilite Health Institute of Amway and published in the British Journal of Nutrition found huge variances in phytonutrient consumption by world region, with the majority of consumers globally needing to double fruit and vegetable intake from current levels.

A second study from researchers in New Zealand found a link between eating lots of fruits and vegetables and experiencing higher levels of curiosity, creativity and positive emotions. This study, from a University of Otago research team and published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, postulated that the micronutrient content of fruits and vegetables may explain the enhanced psychological benefits.

Future cold-pressed juice options could push nutrient density and see drinks straddle the food/beverage line. Chuice – a “chewable, plant-based whole food” – that recently launched in the US extends cold-pressed, HPP juice into a drinkable, whole food offering. Both edible and drinkable, Chuice combines over 40 fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts and seeds into a meal replacement with nutrition well beyond that of most juices.

This “real food in a bottle” is high in protein and fibre, the latter to help regulate insulin levels to help balance the body’s metabolism.

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