Putting Health First
by Julie Cook Ramirez
Processors unveil a wealth of new products that offeran added boost of healthfulness.
Consumers want a fast track to good health — and they’re willing to pay for it. That’s the primary message out of the juice, tea and water category this year, as processors strive to produce great-tasting, convenient beverages that provide added health benefits to boot.  
“People are looking for products that might delay aging or prevent a negative medical issue,” says Richard Ross, vice president of marketing for Chicago-based Tampico Beverages. “You can make it easy for people by saying, ‘You were going to grab a drink around noon anyway; why don’t you drink this juice? Not only will you get refreshed and hydrated, but you will get all these other things that your body needs.’ That’s a positive thing in people’s minds.”
REFRIGERATED JUICE AND DRINK SALES*
 $ Sales
(In Millions)
% Change
vs. Year Ago
Unit Sales
(In Millions)
% Change
vs. Year Ago
Total Category$3,962.50.1%1,669.3-3.4%
All Other Fruit Juice102.539.322.524.6
Apple Juice9.211.65.016.3
Blended Fruit Juice211.73.979.80.6
Cider48.54.617.41.0
Cranberry Cocktail/Drink5.516.62.110.1
Cranberry Juice/Blend1.1-7.90.2-16.5
Fruit Drink675.60.2407.3-0.3
Fruit Nectar18.314.77.317.3
Grape Juice3.9169.11.5183.3
Grapefruit Juice64.8-11.620.1-23.8
Juice and Drink Smoothies69.836.425.325.0
Lemon/Lime Juice6.317.94.719.9
Lemonade132.925.780.416.5
Orange Juice2,568.5-3.2982.0-7.3
Pineapple Juice12.42.54.51.3
Vegetable Juice/Cocktail30.322.59.116.1
* Total sales in supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers, excluding Wal-Mart, for the 52-week period ending June 18, 2006.
SOURCE: Information Resources Inc.
Last year’s projections held true that pomegranate — a large, red, seeded fruit native to southwestern Asia and containing polyphenols, a particularly powerful type of antioxidant — would be the next big thing. According to Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI), sales of category leader Pom Wonderful surged 34.4 percent in dollars and 17.4 percent in units in supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchandisers, excluding Wal-Mart, during the 52-week period ending June 18, 2006. Other companies reported strong demand for their pomegranate juices as well.
Pomegranate juice is “just flying off the shelves,” according to Bruce Langer, president, Langer Juice Co., City of Industry, Calif. His company sells a full line of pomegranate juices, including All-Pomegranate, a 100 percent pomegranate product; Diet Pomegranate, a reduced-sugar product sweetened with Splenda; Pomegranate Juice Cocktail, which contains 27 percent pomegranate juice; and several varieties of blended pomegranate cocktails, including Pomegranate Cranberry and Pomegranate Blueberry.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUAL REFRIGERATED TEA BRANDS*
 $ Sales
(In Millions)
% Change
vs. Year Ago
Dollar
Share
Unit Sales
(In Millions)
% Change
vs. Year Ago
Total Category $198.124.1%100.0%114.016.7%
Turkey Hill 53.819.827.230.111.2
Red Diamond 22.638.511.412.026.9
Private Label 21.210.410.716.111.6
Bolthouse 17.561.18.85.748.2
Milo’s 10.69.05.35.54.4
Nestea 10.221.25.14.819.6
Arizona 10.118.75.16.751.9
Swiss Premium 5.6-6.82.84.0-15.8
Pom Tea 4.8N/A2.41.9N/A
Rosenberger’s Dairies 3.822.01.92.717.6
* Total sales in supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers, excluding Wal-Mart, for the 52-week period ending June 18, 2006.
SOURCE: Information Resources Inc.
“Pomegranate is great in the sense that it serves multiple purposes,” Ross says. “It’s got a positive health spin to it, but it also provides a new flavor in the portfolio and helps relieve consumers from boredom.”
Consumers will be anything by bored by the plethora of new juices and teas that have flooded store shelves and coolers in recent months. What they all have in common is a vested interest in making an already healthy product healthier. Late last year, Tropicana Products Inc., a Chicago-based division of PepsiCo Inc., rolled out the first nationally available orange juice with added fiber. Tropicana Pure Premium Essentials with Fiber delivers 3 grams of added fiber in each 8-ounce glass. That’s the same amount of fiber as found in a medium-sized orange.
Tampico recently rolled out Tampico Plus, a line of fortified juice drinks containing 25 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D, along with added vitamins A, C and E, and calcium. Available in Citrus, Kiwi Strawberry, Mango, and Tropical varieties, Tampico Plus also delivers 25 percent less sugar than many regular juice drinks. Later this year, Tampico plans to roll out Tampico Light, a line of sugar-free juice drinks boasting just 5 calories per serving. According to Ross, such products answer a growing consumer demand.
“Reduced-sugar is definitely one of the areas that consumers are looking for,” he says. “It’s really a result of the news media bringing it to the forefront and getting people to understand that what they put in their bodies is important.”
Anaheim, Calif.-based Honest Tea has unveiled a number of reduced-sugar organic teas in recent months, including 10-calorie Tangerine Green Tea, which gets its sweetness from organic agave syrup (from the cactus family) and erythritol, a fermented organic cane sugar. The company also recently rolled out the nation’s first line of unsweetened organic, ready-to-drink teas – Just Black Tea and Just Green Tea – as well as Pomegranate Blue, a blend of pomegranate and blueberry juices with half the sugar of straight pomegranate juice and 50 calories per serving.
Concerns over childhood obesity, hyperactivity and type-2 diabetes are leading a growing number of companies to focus their efforts on reducing the sugar in kid-oriented products. The Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. recently rolled out Minute Maid Just 10, which contains 10 calories and 2 grams of sugar in each 6.75-fluid-ounce pouch. Likewise, Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods introduced its own line of reduced-sugar pouch drinks in the form of Kool-Aid Jammers 10. Sweetened with a blend of Splenda and Acesulfame Potassium, Kool-Aid Jammers 10 also contain 2 grams of sugar per 6.75-fluid-ounce pouch. Bearing Kraft’s new Sensible Solutions flag, they are available in Tropical Punch, Kiwi-Strawberry and Cherry varieties.
Coca-Cola also recently rolled out Dasani Flavors, a line of single-serve flavored water beverages sweetened with Splenda, and Dasani Sensations, which boasts similar attributes, but with the addition of carbonation.
Ross cautions that consumers have to be careful what they are buying when buying what appear to be reduced-sugar, kid-oriented beverages. Specifically, he points to a new line of Capri Sun flavored water pouches, which are geared toward kids, but don’t even come close to being reduced-sugar or sugar-free.
“It’s really just sugar water without the food coloring,” he says. “There are some reality and perception issues going on there.”
Recognizing the tremendous growth in the convenience/PET still water category – up 25 percent in dollars and 18.2 percent in units, according to IRI — Tampico recently introduced Tampico Flavored Water Beverage. The naturally-flavored, zero-calorie drink comes in a variety of tropical fruit flavors, including Pina Colada, Mixed Berry, Mamey Mango and Grapefruit Tangerine. Though it is currently available only in a gallon-size jug, Ross says he “sees no reason why it couldn’t be available in other sizes” down the road.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUAL CONVENIENCE/PET STILL WATER BRANDS*
 $ Sales
(In Millions)
% Change
vs. Year Ago
Dollar
Share
Unit Sales
(In Millions)
% Change
vs. Year Ago
Total Category$3,236.425.0%100.0%1,288.218.2%
Aquafina463.220.414.3180.79.5
Private Label422.523.913.1164.715.1
Dasani379.724.611.7163.913.0
Poland Spring222.825.56.968.313.1
Propel193.624.96.096.436.1
Dannon160.911.45.055.5-1.9
Arrowhead157.620.74.950.811.9
Deer Park121.329.33.729.718.3
Glaceau Vitamin Water107.8175.83.385.4182.8
Ozarka86.124.72.726.413.4
* Total sales in supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers, excluding Wal-Mart, for the 52-week period ending June 18, 2006.
SOURCE: Information Resources Inc.
In August, Tampico is unveiling the first energy drink geared specifically toward the Hispanic community. Citrus-flavored Tampico Energy is sold in 16 ounce cans bearing culturally-relevant graphics, such as a fierce-looking rooster, along with the tagline “El Mas Bravo” (The Fierce One). According to Ross, it’s a concept whose time has more than come.
“When we announced that we were rolling out this product, you wouldn’t believe how many people said, ‘Hello! We’ve been waiting for you to do this!’” he says. “There really haven’t been any other players in the energy drink category going after the Hispanic market.”
Although she stresses that offering a line of complementary beverages is “part of being a full-service dairy provider,” Penny Baker, marketing manager, Smith Dairy Products Co., Orrville, Ohio, says her company sticks with the basics when it comes to juices and teas. Likewise, says Miriam Erickson Brown, president and chief executive officer, Anderson Erickson Dairy Co., Des Moines, Iowa, adding that consumers often prefer to buy locally produced products. When it comes to new product development, however, AE’s Midwestern location prevents it from jumping on every fad that emerges.
“In the Midwest, you can’t get too far out with really different products,” Brown says. “It takes about five years for a trend to travel from one the coasts to the Midwest. Sometimes they hit. Sometimes they never do.”