Fruit juice industry is set to boast hot trends and explore new avenues in 2020

trends in the fruit juice industry
© Pixabay / User: JESHOOTS-com

Consumer behavior is changing the fruit juice industry. According to José Jordão, President of AIJN European Fruit Juice Association, NFC (not-from-concentrate) juices and chilled juices, in particular, are experiencing growth in sales while ambient and FC (from-concentrate) juices are experiencing a decline. It is clear that consumers are increasingly developing a preference for more natural and less processed products. In addition to this general trend toward healthier products, consumers will be expecting innovative, diverse, attractive and regional products from the future fruit juice industry.

Germany still leads the world

As has been the case for some time now, the German fruit juice market is leading the way. Klaus-Jürgen Philipp, President of the German Fruit Juice Industry Association (VdF), says: “In 2018, we managed to maintain our position as one of the world’s strongest fruit juice markets in terms of volume and sales. Turnover for our industry was EUR 3.53 billion with a production volume of 4.0 billion liters.” Per-capita consumption of fruit juice and nectars in Germany in 2018  was 31.5 liters (32.2 liters the previous year). At 7.4 liters, the most popular juice was orange juice, followed by apple juice (7 liters), multivitamin fruit juice (3.9 liters) and grape juice (1 liter).

Fruchtsaft aus Äpfeln
© Pixabay / User: stevepb

Tracking the development of per-capita consumption over the years, it is clear, however, that the market is in a state of gradual decline. 40.6 liters of fruit juice and nectars were drunk per capita in Germany in the year 2000, and in 2003 it rose to 42 liters. That figure dropped to just 36.3 liters by 2010. Since 2015, however, per-capita consumption has been falling only marginally (33 liters) – which is positive. 

Despite Germany managing to hold on to its position as the world leader in juice consumption (followed by Norway with 23.1 liters, and Austria with 21.8 liters), these facts and figures illustrate that the time is ripe for the fruit juice industry to break with tradition, start thinking outside the box and drive new ideas and develop innovative concepts based on ever-changing consumer demands and preferences.

Consumer information and communication as a decisive factor

There is a good amount of consumer information available. The results of a German-based online survey (which, according to the VdF, was representative) show that consumers are uncertain about the actual fruit content of fruit juices and the presence of added sugar. Many people are unaware that, by law, fruit juice must always consist entirely of fruit – regardless of whether the fruit juice is sold as direct juice or as fruit juice from concentrate. As such, around half of the respondents assumed that fruit juice from concentrate could contain less than 100% fruit.

There are also not enough studies performed on the link between fruit juice and health. Jordão believes that this absence is leading to a greater chance that consumers are becoming overly concerned with the sugar content of fruit juice and therefore not properly appreciating fruit juice’s inherent benefits.

Dear fruit juice industry: where does my juice come from?

Consumers are also increasingly taking an interest in where the fruit for “their” juice comes from. Does it come from Brazil, Africa, Japan or the U.S.? What are the taste benefits and other advantages of products from the individual regions? These are all relevant aspects in the eyes of consumers. There is also a trend for using local produce and products. The taste and quality of these local juices can also be taken into consideration.

Even across Europe, consumption of fruit juice and nectars is continuing to decline (AIJN Market Report 2019). In 2014, 9,565 million liters were consumed within the EU, whereas in 2018 that figure fell to 9,067 million liters. According to the AIJN, on average, each EU citizen consumes 17.6 liters of fruit juice and nectars a year.

Coconut water for the next generation

According to the AIJN, there are several trends that fruit juice manufacturers could be looking at more closely. Many in the industry have already responded by launching innovative products. For health considerations, the combination of fruit juice with coconut water is generating a lot of interest due to the overall reduction of sugar. Döhler, for example, is promoting its “next-generation apple juice”, consisting of a combination of apple juice and coconut water. It is being advertised as a “light juice”. It contains less sugar and fewer calories than conventional juices. An equally unusual product is the “activated charcoal” shot from the Portuguese company Sonatural. It contains activated charcoal, in addition to apple juice, coconut water and lemon. In line with the theme, the 125-ml plastic bottle is colored jet black.

The social media friendliness test

Particularly important for the younger target group is the social media friendliness of fruit juice. The more attractive the texture, color and packaging is, the more suitable the products are for including in posts. The new “innocent plus” product range from British company Innocent Drinks is, for example, extremely photogenic. The packaging is very different and is proof that the fruit juice industry is responding to the need to be social media friendly. The plastic bottles in which the drinks are stored feature loud colors and have product names such as “Wonder Green”, “Bolt From The Blue”, “Berry Set Go” and “Citrus Shield”. They are striking and certainly grab your attention. In addition to fruit juice, each one contains an on-trend ingredient and extra vitamins, which is a perfect fit for the health-conscious.

Fancy a drop of CBD?

Another product emergent from the United Kingdom, Humphrey’s CBD, is certainly innovative though it may take some getting used to. It combines fruit juice, hemp extract and other healthy ingredients. The drink contains cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabidiol derived from the female hemp plant. From a medical point of view, it relieves cramping, reduces inflammation, helps with anxiety and suppresses nausea. Humphrey’s CBD is currently available in four different flavors: Lime, Wheatgrass & Spinach; Pineapple, Ginger & Turmeric; Pomegranate, Beetroot & Wheatgrass; and Orange, Cocoa & Barley Grass.

The “sommelier effect”

verschiedener Fruchtsaft
© Pixabay / User: silviarita

believes that another trend could be of importance for the future development of the fruit juice industry. The “sommelier effect”. This trend is already being observed in the brewing industry, where many beer sommeliers have helped create positive perceptions of beer in society. A three-module course was launched at the beginning of 2019 for those interested in becoming an expert in fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies. According to Schropp, “There is a lot of information that needs to be communicated properly regarding the quality of fruit juice and vegetable juice. The sommeliers are ambassadors of good-quality juice and reinforce products by ensuring that people’s perceptions of them are generally positive”.

This is a microtrend that could really support and positively drive change in the industry. In summary, sales of fruit juice and nectars may have declined overall in recent years, but there are still plenty of opportunities for the fruit juice industry provided that new consumer demands and preferences, which are evident in the latest trends, are taken into consideration and incorporated into products.

Are you interested in experiencing firsthand and finding out about the latest trends and developments in the fruit juice industry? Come make good use of the unparalleled range of events and exhibitors at drinktec 2021 and sample a few “light juices” with coconut water. drinktec will be held from September 13 to 17, 2021, at the Munich trade fair. Are you still looking for a platform to showcase your innovative products and services in this segment? Then join us at the next drinktec.

Friederike Arndt

As a freelance trade journalist, Friederike Arndt is regarded as an expert in the area of beverages. She spent a long time writing for, inter alia, the trade magazines Getränkeindustrie (beverage industry) and Getränkefachgroßhandel (beverage wholesale trade). On the blog, she reports on the latest trends and innovations in the field of non-alcoholic beverages.