PepsiCo's Tropicana brand has added a sub-line of fortified juices to its range, including an immune-boosting variety with selenium, increasing its activites in the functional beverages sector.
To be called Pure Premium Essentials, the five new varieties are part of the Tropicana Pure Premium line that includes orange juice with added vitamins.
The new juices feature a 'Light 'n Healthy' product, with one-third less sugar and calories than orange juice, 'Healthy Heart', with six vitamins and minerals shown to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and 'Immunity Defense', which contains the antioxidant vitamins C and E as well as selenium.
There is also a 'Low Acid' juice and a variety for children with vitamins and minerals designed to boost immunity and build strong bones and a child-friendly taste.
Ron Coughlin, Tropicana's chief marketing officer , said the Essentials line delivers "individualized nutrition to meet individual needs".
"Different life stages, lifestyles and health concerns require customized nutrition to deliver 'what is best for me,' and Essentials meets those needs without compromising taste," he said.
In the US, around 21 per cent of the population is estimated to be obese, up from just 12 per cent in 1991. This trend is set to have a major impact on weight management foods. Scott Van Winkle, Better Food and Nutrition analyst at Adams, Harkness & Hill, suggests that the 2004 diet season could be the strongest to date and have a positive impact on stocks that cater to weight loss.
Tropicana's Light 'n Healthy, said to be the only reduced calorie orange juice available in the chilled juice section, is made by a proprietary, patent-pending process to reduce sugar and calories by one-third, apparently without compromising taste or nutrition.
The functional beverages sector is one of the fastest growing food and drink categories with consumption across the United States, Japan and 16 West European countries passing the 12 billion litre mark in 2002, according to UK-based consultants Zenith International.
Sports drinks held 62 per cent of the US functional soft drinks market in 2002 but 'enriched beverages', such as vitamin-fortified juices, are also a significant portion, held tightly by Tropicana and Coca-Cola's Minute Maid. Minute Maid recently launched a 'heart-healthy' orange juice with added phytosterols.
Tropicana Pure Premium Essentials will be packaged in 64-ounce cartons and priced the same as all other Pure Premium 64-ounce products.