Your average consumer has probably never thought about why juice products in a supermarket are shelved where they are. Some juices are waiting on shelves at room temperature, others are tucked safely in refrigerated shelves, and still others live in small cans in the frozen food aisle.
There are many options for many price points in the market today. Fresh squeezed juices, from concentrate juices, shelf stable juices, and not from concentrate (or NFC) juices, all have their place, and knowing how to launch and sustain successful products in each one of these categories can be challenging.
Fresh juices are nutritious and will always be the most flavorful juice, but in our global economy not every flavor is available in every corner of the world throughout the year. Since consumer demand continues to grow for healthy options in what we eat and drink, NFC juice can help to satisfy customer appetites in locations where fresh squeezed juices are not available.
NFC juices are slightly more expensive than concentrate juices, but the old saying that “you get what you pay for” certainly applies here. NFC juice is typically made by cold pressing, pasteurizing, and then packaging, as a ready to drink beverage.
The cold pressing process used in NFC juice production allows for more of the original flavor, texture, and nutritional value of the original juice to be preserved. This comes at a cost, though. Without the heat used in other forms of juice production, or the moisture extraction used in concentration, NFC juices are more perishable and must be handled accordingly.
Refrigerated NFC juices require a complete cold chain from production all the way to being enjoyed by the end consumer. As a result, they are typically more nutritious and flavorful than juice concentrates and/or shelf stable juices.
Though apple juice makes up a significant proportion of the global juice market, other options such as Concord grape juice have a strong NFC presence as well. Citrus fruits are particularly well-suited to being made into NFC juices. The three most popular are:
Shelf stable juices, as opposed to refrigerated NFC juices, are juice products that are often made from juice concentrates. These juices are less expensive and do not require cold chain distribution. While these juice products have their place in the market, they are usually not the most flavorful due to the increased processing required to make these juices shelf stable.
Cutting down on the need for preservatives is a major decision factor for today’s increasingly health-conscious consumers. And while the decision of choosing a NFC juice or one from concentrate does not determine the need for preservatives or additives—and it should be noted, preservatives do not change the flavor if used correctly—keeping a clean product label is important for many consumers.
In NFC juice, there is nowhere to hide; the raw materials going into your juice need to be of the highest quality to ensure the final flavor is consistent and excellent.
NFC fruit juices demand more of juice producers. Not only must the fruit in question be of the highest quality, but the cold pressing process leaves little room for inconsistencies. To ensure consistent, excellent flavor without the additives and preservatives used in other juices, NFC juice must be made under exacting conditions where quality and consistency are the highest priorities.
With NFC juices gaining more and more market share, there is only room to grow in this sector. The juice market remains strong as consumers continue to find ways to eat and drink healthier. Whether you are producing soft drinks, juice drinks, smoothies, or blends, NFC juices can offer the unbeatable flavor and nutrition your customers increasingly demand.
At FruitSmart, our experience in the production of high-quality food and beverage products mean our NFC juices can bring the full potential of fresh fruit to products where fresh-squeezed juice is not an option. The unmatched quality of our NFC juices is a direct result of our dedication to producing innovative, dependable products that our partners can depend on as they move to meet the changing trends of the market.
As great as they are, not every application is right for NFC juices. That is why we offer all our ingredients in the widest variety of formats possible, including juices, concentrates, essences, purees, and even dried fruit ingredients.
If you haven’t been using FruitSmart ingredients in your products, it is time to see the difference our industry-leading expertise and commitment to quality can provide. Beyond free samples and standard blends, we work to learn the needs that are unique to every new partner we work with. If you are ready to see the difference partnering with FruitSmart can make, contact us today to learn more.