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Why Liquid Multivitamins are Superior
Why is Nutritional Absorption a Concern?

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Vitamins add powerful punch to keep juice sales flowing

Plain old juice from concentrate just doesn't cut it with consumers anymore. Buyers are looking for healthy, 100% juice products, drinks fortified with extra vitamins and minerals, or interesting new flavor combinations such as carrot, strawberry and kiwi to tantalize taste buds.

Innovation by juice makers last year helped boost sales 6.3% to $10.84 billion at food, drug and mass merchant retail outlets, according to Information Resources Inc. All types of juice saw gains except for frozen juice concentrate, which continues to decline in popularity

Refrigerated juice sales grew the most, increasing 13.2% to a whopping $4.26 billion. Bottled juice sales rose by 10% to $3.83 billion, and single-serve juice drinks and juice drinks targeting children grew 12% in sales to $778 million.

Other statistics provided by IRI showed newer products making an impact. Campbell's fruit-and- vegetable blend VS Splash, which debuted in late 1998, notched up 25.7% in sales to $185 million this past year.

Northland, which in 1996 was the first company to launch a 100% cranberry juice, became the top brand in that category with sales of $101 million.

But some old standbys had a good year as well Capri-Sun, introduced in the 1980s and purchased by Kraft in 1992, grew 19.6% in sales to $315 million.

Beyond new flavors and the growing popularity of children's juice drinks, the functional food fad took the juice industry by storm, which resulted in a race by juice makers to add minerals and vitamins.

In a similar vein, organic juices have started to pop up, as have products fortified with herbs. So far, the country's biggest juice producers haven't tested organic juice and herbal additives.

Gary Hemphill, vp of the Beverage Marketing Corp., said nutrient enrichment and a shifting consumer preference for 100% juice products are reshaping the juice category.

"In the late 1980s we saw a proliferation of high-quality fruit drink products, and they really dominate the growth of the market," said Hemphill. "Since then, those products have tapered off in their growth."

While still the top seller in cranberry juice cocktail, Ocean Spray saw sales of its signature line drop 5.8% to $414 million last year at food, drug and mass retail outlets, according to IRI. Fruit drinks, punches and cocktails contain less than 50% juice.

Ocean Spray responded to the market shift with the relaunch of its Wellfleet Farms line as Ocean spray premium 100% juice. The premium juice has more cranberry flavor and is fortified with 130% of he recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

The cocktail line includes a new product called Plus, which features 10% RDA of calcium, 10% each of vitamins A and E, and 130% of vitamin C, as well as extra tannin, the part of the cranberry responsible for aiding in prevention of urinary tract infections.

Northland Cranberries followed suit when it acquired the Seneca brand last year. Under its value-priced Seneca label, the company added cranberry juice drinks for the first time, all fortified with calcium. Seneca's existing apple juice line also was enhanced with calcium.

Tropicana went even further when it pumped up the calcium content of its orange juice products to 35% of RDA. In bottled juice, Tropicana fortified its fruit blend Twister line with vitamin C.

By last year, rival orange juice maker Minute Maid had completed adding calcium to most of its products as well. The company went with 35% RDA of calcium on its chilled orange juice and 10% calcium in Hi-C and Minute Maid children's drinks.

"We first started fortifying orange juice in 1987. In the last year, we've really expanded the calcium-fortified product offering," said Audrey Rummele, senior public relations specialist.

Mott's and Welch's, meanwhile, haven't been as anxious to experiment with calcium because of the debate over how much additive is appropriate and whether it detracts from the naturalness of the juice. While Welch's offers one refrigerated juice cocktail with calcium, Mott's has stayed clear of the mineral.

Vitamins are a much safer bet, therefore Welch's added extra vitamin C to all of its bottled 100% juices and refrigerated juice cocktails. Mott's also puts 100% vitamin C in its Hawaiian Punch products, as does Nestle in its Juicy Juice line.

Other players aren't afraid of cashing in on the herbal craze, however. Langers boosts some of its 64-oz. 100% juices with plenty of extra vitamins and minerals. One juice called Coldbuster 100 features echinacea, an herb touted for helping the body's immune system.

So far, none of the major juice makers have launched organic products, although lesser-known brands can be found at retail. At stores surveyed in Rockwall, Texas, at least three such brands were carried in a separate organic section near the produce department at Kroger, while Albertson's had two types of organic juice in its bottled juice aisle. Organic juices weren't found at a Target and a Wal-Mart Supercenter in that city or at a Big Kmart in Garland. Texas.

While fortification may be the hottest trend in juice products, convenience in packaging is also driving sales. Most companies have moved out of glass in family-sized juices toward lighter plastic bottles with easy-grip handles. And many chilled juices come with a screw-off lid now.

Increasingly, consumers want products that are easy to open and ready to drink, which many consider the reason that both sales and product offerings in frozen concentrate decline each year.

Another interesting development is the expansion of chilled juice products. Refrigerated cases, dominated by orange juice in the past, are now home to a variety of fruit-flavored drinks.

Welch's tested six refrigerated juice cocktails last year and had such success that the product is now being rolled out nationwide. Tropicana's Dole brand also has chilled all-juice blends.

"The one thing we know about heavy juice consumers is they just love variety," said Ross Elkin, marketing director for Welch's.

Variety is also the operative word in children's fruit beverages, as the number of brands in the $778 million business grows each year. The 12% increase in category sales reported by IRI last year was due primarily to fruit drinks rather than all-natural juices.

Following Capri-Sun's novel lead with pouch packaging more than 20 years ago, Minute Maid Coolers and Hi-C Blast also came out in the pouch form that older kids prefer.

Relative newcomers in children's juice drinks include Kraft's Tang brand fruit drink in a pouch, VS Splash in juice boxes and both Hi-C Blast and Minute Maid Coolers, which are still in testing phases.

Another significant piece of the juice business is the power of private labels. Value-priced store brand juices are common at the nation's largest supermarket chains and clubs.

Imitations are also plentiful in private label, such as Albertson's own Splash and Kroger's Splurge, which are knock offs of V8 Splash.

Of the Big Three, Target was the last to dive into private label, with its launch last year of 64-oz. bottled juices under its Archer Farms Market brand. Most private label juices have added 100% vitamin C. Calcium fortification is less predominant.

Because they're generally cheaper, store brand products command the No. 2 spot in sales of cranberry juice cocktail, orange juice and grape juice, IRI data shows. In apple juice, a favorite beverage for infants and toddlers, private label is the top seller by a wide margin.

Wal-Mart often places its Great Value or Sam's Choice private label juices in the racetrack to capture impulse buys.

Popular brands such as Capri-Sun are also common on endcaps at the Big Three, while a Big Kmart in Garland recently featured V8 Splash on an endcap--perhaps because Kmart didn't have its own copycat product in its American Fare label.

Whether juice is under a well-known national name or a store label, sales keep increasing, IRI data shows. But it's up to the major juice vendors to keep innovating to offer the juice products consumers want and to keep private label from eating away at market share.

Either way, retailers benefit by increased sales due to the multitude of product choices.

Absorption of Liquid Vitamins

"Liquids, aside from offering the obvious benefit of being easy to swallow, have another very important trait. According to the Physicians Desk Reference,

Liquid is absorbed at a 98% rate, versus

Only 10 – 20% in hard capsules or tablet forms.

This very important distinction is extraordinarily important. It is not uncommon to have [hard] capsules pass right through the body in a way that the product name is still visible after the pill has left the body completely. This does not happen with liquids, as they are absorbed completely and are not wasted."

The National Advisory Board states that:

'100 mg consumed in tablet form translates to a minute stabilized 8.3 mg or 8.3% concentrated in the blood.'

This is simply not the case with liquids!"

"Pills and capsules may cost less, but in reality you get far less absorption for your money. No wonder they cost less!

Liquids are fast--you do not even have to wait for them to dissolve. They start working as soon as you swallow and

Many have very pleasant flavors."


Why Liquid Multivitamins are Superior
Why is Nutritional Absorption a Concern?

Articles about Vitamins & Health

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