Squeezing the Juice from the Fruit Beverage Market

Squeezing the Juice from the Fruit Beverage Market

Historically, a simple mention of “100% Juice” was sufficient to encourage a consumer to purchase fruit beverages based on what appeared to be a healthy choice. However, with greater consumer awareness of the sugar content of juice, the movement of consumers away from sugary beverages, and the decline of traditional breakfast habits, fruit beverage shipments have been on a recent decline. As manufacturers change their product lines to appeal to new consumer habits, a range of new beverage options marketed as healthy has entered the market.

Changes to the Sugary Breakfast Landscape

Sugar has long been seen as an enemy to overall health and nutritional value in foods and beverages. For some time, juices were excluded from this line of thinking, as these drinks generally feature no added sugars. However, orange juice contains nearly the same amount of sugar as many sugary soft drinks, including soda. For instance, in a 2014 study, Minute Maid 100% Apple Juice was found to contain 65.8 grams of sugar per liter. Pepsi was found to contain slightly less, at 65.7 grams of sugar per liter.

Juice demand has suffered due to growing concerns about the sugar content of fruit juice and because of changes in breakfast habits such as the shift away from eating a traditional sit-down breakfast that involves drinking juice to more on-the-go style meals featuring breakfast bars and smoothies. Furthermore, consumption of fruit juices at breakfast faces competition from “functional beverages” featuring caffeine or specific health benefits.

Innovation at the Forefront

A trend toward mixing such diverse ingredients as juices with caffeine, electrolytes, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and herbs has arisen to replace traditional fruit beverages. For instance, PepsiCo's Kickstart – which combines Mountain Dew, real fruit juice, and caffeine – was launched in 2013. Along similar lines, Campbell’s V8 V-Fusion+ENERGY beverage contains servings of vegetables and fruit as well as 80 milligrams of natural caffeine from green tea extract. Drinks incorporating both caffeine and juice are often marketed to young adults as an alternative to traditional coffee or fruit beverages in the morning.

Additionally, increasing consumer demand for high levels of protein in foods and beverages has led to the development of a variety of protein-rich beverages. For example, Odwalla produces a line of protein-rich shakes, Odwalla Protein, which contain fruit and fruit juices. The traditional market for protein drinks has been young male athletes, but such beverages are finding more appeal with women.

Going forward, expect to see even more alternative fruit beverage options appearing on the shelves at grocery stores and convenience stores as the trend away from traditional fruit beverages and sugar continues. Even existing products are likely to reappear with reduced sugar formulations, as is the case with Juicy Juice Splashers Organic – a version of Harvest Hill Beverage Company’s child-centric Juicy Juice line of juice drinks featuring 9 grams of sugar per serving compared to 27 grams per serving in the classic product line.

Want to Learn More?

Don’t worry, we have you covered! For additional information and analysis of US industry trends, see Fruit Beverages: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. This report forecasts to 2022 US fruit beverage shipments and demand in nominal US dollars at the manufacturer level. Total shipments are segmented by product in terms of:

  • canned and fresh juices
  • non-carbonated fruit soft drinks
  • frozen orange juice
  • other frozen fruit juice

To illustrate historical trends, total shipments, total demand, the various shipment segments, and trade are provided in annual series from 2007 to 2017.

The scope of this report does not include vegetable juices, dairy-based fruit smoothies, powdered fruit beverages, or fruit-flavored drinks that do not contain fruit juice. Re-exports of fruit beverages are excluded from demand and trade figures.

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About the Author

Chris Dyer is a Market Research Analyst for Freedonia Focus Reports. He holds a Master of Arts in Security Studies, and his experience as an analyst covers multiple industries.