My farm roots, more merger talk and the threat of juice - The Packer

My farm roots, more merger talk and the threat of juice

07/24/2012 01:59:00 PM
Tom Karst

Which form of processed fruits and vegetables represents the biggest potential to decrease fresh produce consumption?

A. Frozen

B. Canned

C. Juice

D. Dried


So far, "canned" is the leading vote getter. I have been reading more reports about the explosive growth of juices. Check out this report about Starbucks growth in juices, and here for a news item about a Smoothie marketer making hay with kale. A Barron's cover story "Drink Up!" has this subhead: America is finally eating its vegetables -- from a bottle. How fresh juice is becoming big business for Starbucks and your local juice bar.

From the story:

Juicing, as a meal replacement or mere refreshment, has become a $5 billion business, and is projected to grow by 4% to 8% a year. While juice fasts, or cleanses, have long been used to shed unwanted pounds, the latest craze is best viewed as part of a national move, especially among people in their 20s and 30s, toward healthier eating and greater consumption of raw and organic produce -- in this case, conveniently packaged and easily quaffed on the run.


Two weeks ago, for example, Campbell Soup (ticker: CPB) announced it will buy Bolthouse Farms, a seller of produce and premium juices, from the private-equity firm Madison Dearborn, for $1.55 billion, in a bid to boost its presence in higher-margin refrigerated foods. Sales of Campbell's traditional, shelf-stable V8 vegetable juice have stagnated in recent years, although the company has generated growth by extending the V8 brand to jazzier fruit and vegetable beverages.


TK: I initially leaned toward "frozen" but juice gets my vote as the processed fruit and vegetable form that could create the most competition for fresh produce in the coming few years. Yet some are asking: is juicing healthy or hyped?

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