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Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Power of Prune Juice

When defined in terms of overall dollar sales and volume consumption, the market for fruit juices and juice drinks has remained remarkably stable for years.  Packaged Facts estimates that between 2007 and 2012 dollar sales of fruit and vegetable juices and juice drinks barely budged and that the volume of juices and juice drinks consumed by households hardly kept up with population growth.

Yet, underneath its apparently placid surface, the market for packaged juices and drinks has been roiled by undercurrents of constant, unpredictable change.  Traditional consumption patterns are rapidly changing as consumers continue to turn away from classic products such as frozen orange juice. 

As they reject the traditional, consumers are embracing new juices and juice drinks with wildly innovative forms and flavors.  Many of the products achieving the highest growth rates are those riding the wave of trends and fads driven by juice bars and smoothie chains that have had a seemingly overnight impact on the tastes of health-obsessed juice consumers. 

As a result, the market for packaged fruit and vegetable juices has been upended.  No longer do consumers need to frequent juice bars or natural and specialty gourmet retail channels to find novel blends and flavors.  They only need to cruise the aisles and perimeter of their nearest supermarket to find a wide range of cutting-edge products such as exotic blends of fruit juices, unexpected combinations of fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, coconut water, aloe vera juice, and juices made from mysterious, antioxidant-rich “superfruits.”

Yet, consumers still make room in their refrigerators and pantries for tried-and-true juices and juice drinks.  As Packaged Facts’ April 2013 report on Fruit and Vegetable Juices: U.S. Market Trends  points out, despite the rush to create new and exciting flavors and textures for juices and juice drinks, many of the most old-fashioned flavors and products still have a hold on American consumers.  Apple is a juice flavor used most by 65 million households, and orange juice still reigns as king of the mass market, with $2.6 billion in sales for the 52 weeks ending January 27, 2013.  Juices and juice drinks with cranberry flavors racked up $851 million in dollar sales, while apple juice and apple cider registered dollar sales of $748 million during the period. 

As might be expected, when it comes to traditional juice flavors there are significant differences between the preferences of younger and older consumers.  For example, consumers 55 years old and over have a higher likelihood of preferring cranberry juice and cranberry juice blends, while consumers under the age of 35 are more likely to favor tropical, pineapple, lemonade, lemon/lime, grape, fruit punch and cherry flavors.

There is just one fruit juice flavor with the power to cross generational boundaries.  Younger Millennials (those in the 18- to 24-year-old age group) are about as likely as those in the 65+ age group to say that prune is a juice flavor they use most. 

1 comment:

  1. Do you know of any sources where I can find prune juice in a powered or concentrated form?