The trend toward health and wellness is fitting right in with beverages, and private brands are answering the call. As more adults drink less alcohol and soda, they are turning to alternatives that taste great and with more health benefits.
No one wants to drink just water. Consumers are looking for drinks that provide energy, support the digestive system and sparkle enough to be Instagram-worthy. Manufacturers say retailers should look carefully at their private label assortments of ready-to-drink beverages, refrigerated juices and other items to appeal to these consumers.
In 2019, Universal Pure acquired Meriden, Conn.-based Stay Fresh Foods. Now Universal Pure has an expanded geographic footprint, and three additional HPP machines, bringing the total to 15, and the ability to blend and bottle 50 million bottles of juice per year. “The ability to blend, bottle, and HPP under one roof keeps costs down and helps retailers competitively price their private label juice lines to capture market share,” Key said.
Shelf-stable beverages also are playing in the functional space. Lassonde Pappas and Co. makes juices that answer consumer demand for functional beverages. Over the past few years, Lassonde, which is headquartered in Quebec, Canada and has U.S. operations in Carneys Point, N.J., has launched several products that respond to current trends. “We were able to introduce new low-carb/low-sugar pro- grams and many products with clean ingredient decks,” said Josianne Légaré, senior vice president of U.S. sales. “This trend was in its very beginnings.”