Watch out, soft drinks. Teas and juices are looking to capture health-conscious consumers in 2011 with flavor innovation and antioxidant power.
The refrigerated juices and drinks category in the c-store sector saw total dollar sales of $423,746,400, according to SymphonyIRI data for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26, 2010, up 5.73% compared to the previous year. Refrigerated teas had total dollar sales of $191,059,700 for the same period, up 6.37%.
Mintel International, which estimated a -0.3% dip in juice sales in all channels for 2010, predicts a better year ahead for juices in 2011 with a 3.9% sales growth. The uptick is expected to be driven by coconut water sales. Coconut water is growing in popularity among consumers and as national brands continue to bring the beverage into their lines of juices, the product is expected to become even more mainstream.
Meanwhile, orange juice usage was down, especially among teens in 2010 with only 74% saying they drank orange juice compared to 80% in 2005, Mintel reported.
“Some of the softness from teens could be the high rate of unemployment in that age group due to the recession,” said Mintel’s Garima Goel Lal, senior consumer analyst. SymphonyIRI data showed orange juice was down 6.47% in the c-store sector, compared to 2009, while dollar sales of refrigerated cranberry juice and cranberry juice blend were up a solid 41.88%.
“Cranberry juice did really well in 2010, and that can be attributed to Ocean Spray making the flavor more mainstream and connecting it with a health halo in its advertising campaigns. Other than cranberry, most juice flavors declined in sales,” Goel Lal said. She predicted increased innovation in juice in 2011, and that tea/juice hybrid beverages will continue to enter the market.
Steady at Retail
At Swiss Farms Stores, juice sales held steady in 2010. “One beverage that keeps coming up is pomegranate tea, which is tea with pomegranate juice in it. We’re selling more and more because it’s becoming increasingly popular,” said Rocco Fiorentino, president of Swiss Farms Stores, which has 13 stores in Pennsylvania and a newly opened franchise store in Summerdale, N.J.
Teas are also gaining traction on their own, and flavor innovation is exploding and expected to continue in 2011. Due to increased demand, expect to see more private label brands popping up in 2011. Touting the power of antioxidants, teas fit neatly in line with the health-conscious trend. “We’re expecting a total market sales growth for teas of about 8.9% in 2011,” Goel Lal said.
Fiorentino noted tea is up 4% as a category at his stores, and green tea has become increasingly popular with customers, as has diet green tea. Swiss Farms also does a huge business with Swiss Premium Tea Cooler, its proprietary iced tea and lemonade beverage blend. “Our Swiss Premium Tea Cooler is our highest volume item in the store,” he added.