Scott LaPorta took over the reigns as president and GM of the Campbell Soup Co.’s subsidiary in mid-June and already has aggressive plans to build up Bolthouse Farms’ ultra-premium beverage business.
He explained that Bolthouse Farms recently launched 1915 – an ultra-premium, cold-pressed, organic juice line that goes beyond the company’s older super-premium juices, which already were a health alternative to sodas.
“People are looking for fresh, cold pressed organic juices that have really clean, short ingredient lists,” which the ultra-premium juice line 1915 provides, LaPorta told FoodNavigator-USA. He explained that the line of five cold pressed fruit and veggie juices contain no more than six ingredients, are GMO-free and USDA certified organic.
Alternatively, the company’s super premium juices are not organic and are flash pasteurized instead of high pressure processed. These differences allow the super-premium juices to appeal to a broad audience, and cause the price of ultra-premium juices to increase slightly by comparison to a suggested $4.45 per 12-ounce BPA-free bottle.
An almost $5 price tag may sound high for a single serving of juice, but it is about half what people currently pay for similar products at food service and restaurants.
Picking up production
LaPorta likely will use his experience as Bolthouse Farm’s former chief operating officer to ramp up production of the 1915 line, which is currently available in select Walmart, Target and Meijer stores, but will roll out to more retailers nationally in early 2016.
Bolthouse also plans to add new flavors to the 1915 line, which LaPorta says is a strong platform that will help the firm tap into the rapidly growing ultra-premium line, which increased 60-80% in the last 12 months, albeit off a small base.
LaPorta anticipates the ultra-premium juice category will become increasingly crowded, just as the super-premium juice segment did a few years ago. But, he isn’t worried about it becoming oversaturated.
“Over time, the brand that can deliver great innovation and great tasting product at a great price will win,” he said, adding: “We think we will do it better than everyone else and become one of the leaders.”
Super-premium still a priority
As Bolthouse develops its ultra-premium beverage, it will not neglect its other businesses, LaPort said, noting the company will launch new flavors of super-premium juice in the spring that will be fruit and vegetable forward.
He also said this segment remains an important “work stream” for the company because the category is growing 15-20% year-over-year and household penetration is increasing.
“Household penetration is increasing steadily as more and more Americans become aware of ultra and super premium juices and we make them more affordable and available,” LaPort said, adding the distribution push “goes back to our mission to lead the fresh revolution.”
Beyond juice, Bolthouse also will expand its line of refrigerated salad dressings in the next 12 to 15 months, LaPorta said.
While the company wouldn’t say what the new flavors will be, it said its most popular flavors are the two released last spring: Creamy Balsamic and Sweet Caramelized Onion, and Cilantro Avocado.