THE popularity of healthy products is growing, aided by initiatives such as the SGF Healthy Living Programme, WHO guidelines, legislation and the media attention given to the rise in diabetes and levels of sugar and fat in diets, reckons James Logan, commercial director with juice and juice drinks specialist Refresco Gerber.
“It would be a mistake for convenience stores to ignore this important market and fail to cater for the increasing number of shoppers who are seeking out healthier choices, such as low calorie and low-sugar products,” he said.
“Unless on restrictive free-from diets, consumers shop by category and so healthy options should be merchandised within the different categories but flagged up as ‘healthy’ for easy identification.
“To encourage cross-selling, retailers should consider offering healthy option meal deals,” he said.
The firm’s Just Juice, which is exclusive to convenience stores, has no added sugar. One of the best-selling flavours in its Sunpride range of juice drinks is its low-sugar tropical juice drink. And no-sugar Del Monte Fruit Burst has added vitamins.
Del Monte has extended its low-sugar, low-calorie Naturally Light range by adding a one-litre orange flavour in a re-sealable carton. The orange juice drink has 50 calories a glass and 50% less sugar than standard juices.
Sunmagic, which produces a range of 100% fruit juices, smoothies and juice drinks, launched two new juice drink ranges ahead the recent return to school down south – term begins later than in Scotland.
The two ranges are launched before new Westminster government regulations on school food standards in England come into play in January 2015. Under the new English standards, soft drinks available in schools must contain no more than 150ml of juice because of its sugar content. The maximum portion size of ‘combination drinks’ containing both juice and water) is 330ml.
Manufacturers are producing compliant packs which will feature in school catering and could influence retail eventually.
Tropicana, which brand owner Pepsico, quoting Nielsen Scantrack figures, says is the UK’s number one branded juice, has also launched juices in a new 150ml portion size that meets the soon to be enacted English school standard.
The new packs, available in Tropicana’s Smooth Orange and Pressed Apple varieties, contain 100% Pure Squeezed Fruit (not from concentrate).
“Going forward, reduced portion sizes, and products offering no or reduced sugar will become more prevalent to cater for the health conscious and to address WHO sugar reduction guidelines,” said Refresco Gerber’s Logan.
“C-stores should look to offer these healthier alternatives as sugar concerns continue,” he added.