- Concerns about too much sugar in children's juices are leading to new boxed products without sugar or containing less of it — and sometimes without any juice at all, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- In the past few months, Juicy Juice introduced a boxed flavored water line called Juicy Waters, Apple & Eve rolled out Cool Waters in boxes with vitamin C and organic fruit juice, and Hint added boxed fruit-flavored water to its lineup, The Journal said.
- Juice sales dropped 10% between 2013 and last year, Beverage Marketing Corp. data cited by The Journal show. CivicScience polled 2,000 parents earlier this month and found 60% with children ages 3-11 actively try to limit sugar and 38% buy less juice compared to 2018. Twenty-two percent still add fruit juice to their kids' school lunches, the newspaper reported.
Fruit juice companies continue to be challenged as consumers shift away from sugary beverages because of growing health concerns over issues such as cavities and obesity. Manufacturers took an additional hit in 2017 when the American Academy of Pediatrics publicly recommended against giving juice to children younger than one year and limiting amounts for older kids.
As public sentiment has evolved, the products have had to as well. Fruit juice makers have reformulated or and launched new products in an attempt to boost sales where sugary beverages have faltered.
Honest Tea introduced Honest Kids beverages in 2007, featuring organic juice with fewer calories. Co-founder Seth Goldman told Food Dive this past fall the brand is now the Coca-Cola-owned company's top-selling product and helps retain customers introduced to less-sweet products earlier in life. Its organic apple juice has also been an option in McDonald's Happy Meals since 2017.
The new Juicy Waters boxed lineup from Juicy Juice, which comes in fruit punch, orange, strawberry and watermelon, is trying filtered water and some flavoring but without sugar or other sweeteners. Apple & Eve's Cool Waters debuted in February and has only three to four grams of sugar and 15-20 calories per box. The product is also organic, non-GMO and has no artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors.
Hint Kids is another boxed flavored water product which came out late last year. Popular kids' drink Capri Sun also adapted, introducing lower-calorie, fruit-flavored water beverages in pouches sweetened with sugar and stevia extract, as well as another line combining fruit juice and filtered water.
While the kids' juice box industry is still a money maker, bringing in $1.5 billion in the U.S. according to Bloomberg, manufacturers will still need to adapt to both retain and expand their consumer base. Finding the right recipes to encourage sales to parents and more consumption by their children is key.
That, however, is proving not to be an easy task, as Gerry Khermouch, founder of Beverage Business Insights, told Bloomberg. He called box juices "the Bermuda Triangle of beverages" and noted manufacturers have tried — and nearly all have failed — with various recipes to reduce the sugar load.