Central Market in San Antonio calls out its juice offerings with large, appealing signage that reminds shoppers the product is made fresh in the store every day. ( Ashley Nickle )

As consumer focus on health and wellness has sharpened, so has interest in produce-based beverages.

“Beverages are increasingly becoming the fifth meal occasion along with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks,” the Food and Marketing Institute wrote in its Power of Produce report. “The influence of health and wellbeing very clearly plays out in beverage choices as well. Beverages carrying a natural, specialty and wellness positioning boasted large increases in sales versus flat to down results for their conventional counterparts.”

FMI found that 56% of shoppers buy veggie shakes or fruit smoothies, and 53% buy cold press juices. In addition, 48% buy water infused with fruits, herbs or vegetables.

Seventeen percent of respondents said they buy veggie shakes or fruit smoothies often, compared to 15% for cold press juices and 16% for produce-infused water.


Who buys most

Those frequent users are more likely to be male, millennial (particularly older millennial), eat fresh produce daily, and live in a household of three or more.

People who regularly purchase produce-based beverages are also more likely to have a household income of $75,000-plus, spend $150 or more per week on groceries, and make four or more trips per week, according to the Power of Produce report.

Frequent purchasers also tend to have kids living at home and buy organic produce.



FMI offered several suggestions on how stores can capitalize on these frequent user profiles. First, companies should keep these attributes in mind and cater to those shoppers in the branding, marketing and merchandising of produce-based beverages, the organization recommended.

Location should be another consideration.

“Access is a big point, with frequent users being in the store more often,” FMI wrote in its report. “This argues for secondary placement beyond produce, in areas such as deli-prepared and the checkout as well. Additionally, it advocates for an expanded presence in urban, high-traffic stores.”

FMI also advised placement of produce-based beverages near the organic section of the produce department given the interest of organic shoppers in those products.


The why behind the buy

Health and nutrition benefits are the top reason citing for purchasing produce-based beverages, with 65% of respondents describing that element as very important.

Shoppers also acknowledge that feeling good about making a “better-for-me choice” plays a role in purchase, with 54% responding they see that aspect as very important.

Consumers also reported that they buy produce-based beverages as a way to get closer to their five servings a day, with 50% characterizing that as very important.

“With health and well-being being so central to the purchase of produce-based beverages, they are a perfect fit for banners with an enhanced health focus, such as specialty/organic stores,” FMI wrote in its report. “However, in today’s market, an ever-increasing share of shoppers are taking an interest in managing health and well-being through food, not just organic/specialty store shoppers.

“Actively communicating the health, nutrition and emotional benefits beyond on-pack may be ways to leverage produce-based beverages to drive the basket ring in all channels,” FMI wrote. “It is important to position them in addition to daily produce consumption rather than (as) a substitution.”


Where shoppers are with plant-based and the opportunity for produce

Power of Produce: Channel and path-to-purchase insights on millennials

Power of Produce: Core value-added shoppers are valuable for retailers

Power of Produce: Key opportunities to increase fruit, vegetable sales

Power of Produce: Attitudes toward packaged fruits and vegetables