TO SAY THAT SHELF-STABLE ready-to-drink smoothies have had an off year is an understatement, since dollar sales dropped 32.9% in supermarkets during the year that ended March 21, according to SymphonyIRI.
But not all brands performed poorly. The shining star amongst a frothy sea of offerings has been private labels. The third most popular brand after shareleader SoBe bottled juice and drink smoothies (-2.26%) and V8 Splash Smoothies (23.5%), it experienced a 29.6% increase in sales.
Among the specific brands responsible is Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's line of RTD breakfast smoothies. Sold from a cold case near the checkout, varieties include vanilla, banana, mango and strawberry mango.
“They sell very well,” said spokesman Brendan Wonnacott, who credits the drinks' basic recipe. “Folks are more focused on items whose ingredients they can pronounce, and are without preservatives, artificial colors and flavors.”
Store-brand offerings are also touting functional benefits. Private-label beverage manufacturer Cliffstar recently introduced a line of shelf-stable, non-dairy smoothies. Each has two servings of fruit, and is geared toward a specific health benefit like bone and joint enhancement.
“We could see the smoothie trend was on the increase and we thought ours could be positioned a little different with the enhancements since they are shelf stable and dairy free,” said Laura Corser, senior business manager at Cliffstar.