Consumers know they should eat more fruit and vegetables — and are turning to the juice aisle for help.
Juices that contain not only fruit, but also vegetables and added vitamins and minerals are catering to shoppers looking for ways to live healthier lifestyles.
“Most people want ‘healthy’ foods to be just as convenient as fast foods in our society, so it is no surprise that juice blends are becoming more popular in stores,” said Monica Amburn, registered dietitian for Bi-Lo, Greenville, S.C.
Amburn prefers, of course, that people eat whole fruits and vegetables for most of their intake. This way, they will get the fiber and other nutrients that the whole fruit and vegetables provide.
But juice blends are a nice way to supplement a diet, she said.
Bi-Lo stores carry a variety of fruit and vegetable blend juices, including Naked Juices, Bolthouse Farms and Raw juices.
For those trying to lose weight, Amburn suggests that juice drinkers limit their portion size to no more than 1 cup. For people who have a hard time limiting portion sizes of juice, she recommend
s they purchase one of the growing number of low-calorie or reduced-sugar juices on the market.
Anne Cundiff, dietitian for Hy-Vee's Fleur Drive store in Des Moines, Iowa, has seen increased demand for products that provide some sort of health benefit. These include juices with antioxidants (acai, aloe); anti-inflammatory (tart cherry juice) benefits; natural energy (kombucha); and electrolyte balance (coconut). Smoothies made with juice are also popular, she said.
Cundiff does not recommend large juice intake due to concentrated sugar and higher calories compared to the actual fruit or vegetable. But she suggests certain juices as a natural way to achieve some health benefits. One of her favorites is the Nature's Blessed Tart Cherry juice for its anti-inflammatory properties.
“There are many individuals that cannot take prescription drugs or aspirin for arthritis, and this is a natural way that may control pain,” she said.
While she, like other dietitians, doesn't recommend individuals use this as their primary intake for fruits and vegetables, she supports it as an occasional source.
“We still need to teach children to physically eat fruits and vegetables, not just drink them,” Cundiff stressed.
Cundiff acknowledged, however, that the juice industry has successfully captured the attention of individuals who know they lack the required number of fruit/vegetable servings each day, said Cundiff.
“It is an easy and tasty way for people to increase that consumption,” she said.
Manufacturers have launched a variety of value-added juice products to do just that. Campbell Soup Co., for instance, has introduced eight new beverages in the last two years. Now included in its portfolio are two new varieties of its V8 V-Fusion beverages: Concord Grape Raspberry and Concord Grape Raspberry Light.
Providing one full serving of vegetables and one serving of fruit per each 8-ounce glass, the juices are a blend of grape juice with the juice of apples, raspberries, sweet potatoes, carrots and other fruit and vegetable juices. Additionally, the entire line offers essential antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.
The company has expanded the number of V8 V-Fusion juice varieties available in single-serving, 8-ounce slim cans. The packaging is designed to make it easier for people to enjoy drinking their vegetables and fruit at home, school, work or on-the-go.
Campbell Soup has even put a healthier spin on energy drinks with its new “V8 V-Fusion + Energy” drinks and V8 Energy Shots.
Each provides one combined serving of vegetables and fruit as well as a natural energy boost from green tea extract.
The marketer has also entered the smoothie category with its V8 V-Fusion Smoothies. Campbell says the smoothies are the first 100% fruit and vegetable juice smoothies available in the juice aisle. Each 8-ounce glass provides a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetables.
Among other products creating excitement in the juice aisle:
Nestlé's Juicy Juice Sparkling Fruit Juice Beverage, an all-natural, lightly carbonated drink that provides one serving of fruit.
“The Switch,” a carbonated 100% juice beverage without added sugar and colorings.
Mott's Garden Blend, a 100% vegetable juice that provides two servings of vegetables per 8 ounces.
Vruit, from American Soy Products, a blend of 100% pure fruit and vegetable juices. Eight ounces provides one serving from the fruit and vegetable group.
The juice aisle also appeals to the calorie-conscious. The August/September issue of Big Y's Living Well, Eating Smart newsletter promotes Old Orchard's Cranberry Naturals. The cranberry juice blends contain 40% less sugar than traditional cranberry juice varieties. They are sweetened with a blend of Truvia-brand natural sweetener and a small amount of natural sugar to create a reduced-sugar juice with about 50% less than the leading cranberry juice — and 70 calories per 8-ounce glass.