The roughly $20bn US juice category has grown by less than 3% since 2011 and is projected to decline by 7% between 2016 and 2021, due to consumer concerns over sugar content and the rise of other RTD beverages, according to Mintel.
Highlighting stress-free claims
However, there is growth opportunity in repositioning juice drinks as a relaxing evening beverage by highlighting functional ingredients and tapping into current consumer trends, according to Mintel senior foodservice analyst Caleb Bryant.
“The juice drinks that are performing well tend to satisfy more unique occasions than traditional juice such as lemonade, coconut water and sparkling juice hybrid drinks,” Bryant said.
“As such, juice brands need to identify new occasions to satisfy and the evening occasion may be a whitespace opportunity.”
The evening hours have become an increasingly important occasion for beverage brands to tap into as consumers are looking for an escape at the end of their hectic days, according to Bryant.
“There has been a strong growth in herbal teas with relaxing or sleep enhancing claims, and juice drinks have an opportunity to also make such claims,” he said.
Ingredients associated with relaxation and stress reduction such as adaptogens (stress reducing compounds found in ingredients such as ashwagandha, holy basil, and maca) can all be marketed as a way to decompress at night.
REBBL launched a line of ‘elixir’ drinks with ‘super-herb’ ingredients such as its Maca Mocha, Ashwagandha Chai, and Reishi Chocolate.
Digestion and gut health claims associated with nighttime consumption are another area for juice brands to highlight as 31% of iGen (born between 1995 and 2012) consumers are looking for a juice with added probiotics, according to Mintel research.
“These products can be marketed as a type of digestif, a non-alcoholic after dinner drink. Less sweet juices with ingredients that promote digestive health like ginger, probiotics and fennel could appeal to health-conscious consumers who want a non-alcoholic nightcap,” Byrant added.
Juice positioned as an evening drink is a growing product innovation worldwide, but still a niche opportunity in the US.
“The average US consumer has no idea what an adaptogen is, most consumers don’t drink digestifs and right now, very few products make these evening claims,” Bryant said.
“If more brands play into this stress-free space it will likely create more demand among consumers, creating more space for juice brands to play in.”