The other day at my son's overpriced gym class, a 30-something mom was wearing below-the-waist pink sweats with Juicy (as in design line Juicy Couture) stitched across her bottom. I'm not sure what bothered me more, the fact that the last time someone in my age group had letters on the bottom of their sweats was in college . . . and they were Greek letters. Or, that this woman wasted $60 on sweat pants intended for teenaged girls in order to draw attention to her bottom. Regardless, here's a different juicy opportunity. This one will improve a milk processor's bottom, bottom line, that is.
As has been said many times in Dairy Foods, milk processors possess all the right tools to produce and distribute juice and fruit drinks. The margins on these products are often much greater than they are for milk.
Processors with plastic gallon and half-gallon capacity can emulate these new products from Chicago-based Tampico Beverages. Introduced in January, Tampico™ Plus is the first nationally distributed brand of reduced-sugar refrigerated juice drinks. Calcium fortified and enriched with vitamins A, C, D and E, the drink comes in four flavors: Citrus, Kiwi Strawberry, Mango and Tropical. More recently, the company introduced a four-flavor line (Grapefruit Tangerine, Mamey Mango, Mixed Berry and Pina Colada) of no-calorie water. This is the first nationally distributed brand of flavored water beverage sold by the gallon. A key selling point with this product is price. A gallon sells for about $1.50, which equates to half the price per ounce when compared to single-serve bottles of flavored water.
"For foreign-born U.S. consumers and their families, traditional flavors from their home countries make a stronger, emotional connection and also serve as a reminder of culture, tradition and history," says Scott Miller, Tampico's CEO. Tampico has always had a strong presence within the Hispanic community.
"The juice and fruit drinks category is crowded, and the consumer is always looking for a new edge," says Tom Mesters, v.p. of business development, Mastertaste, Teterboro, N.J. Some interesting flavors that could gain more momentum are black cherry, apple cider and berry-citrus combinations."
One more beverage trend for milk processors to consider is whey protein sports drinks. "The sports drink category now encompasses a whole spectrum of different products-from advanced specialist sports nutrition for body builders and serious athletes to lighter products for everyday consumers," says Sophie Carkeek, a senior market analyst with U.K.-based beverage consultancy Zenith International.
Dairy proteins, specifically from whey, are the only protein that is suitable for such sports beverages, as they are added seamlessly to such clear drinks. They also have a clean neutral flavor that requires no masking, unlike other proteins. Whey proteins are especially well matched with fruit and citrus flavors. Furthermore, emerging research funded by America's dairy farmers suggests that whey proteins have unique health and nutritional benefits, such as building and maintaining muscle, enhancing immunity and supporting satiety.
Whey-based drinks are another way to improve your bottom line.
Donna Berry will give a presentation on Dairy Food Trends at the Oregon Dairy Industries Conference, April 12 in Eugene, Ore.