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Cherry juices rise in "superfruit" status

24 February, 2012

Cherries have long been appreciated for their taste, but growing evidence about their health benefits is now putting them squarely in the frame for "superfruit" status and they are increasingly being used in juices and juice drink blends.

Although they are not among the top fruits used in juice drink introductions, with orange and apple still dominating globally, ahead of mango and grape, they did feature in about 7 per cent of the juice and juice drink launches recorded by Innova Market Insights ( in 2011, up from 4 per cent five years previously. 

While a significant number of these launches are in the form of blends with other juices, particularly apple, but also berries and other red fruits, we are also increasingly seeing pure cherry juice products. These are usually on a premium platform, and sometimes specifying the type of cherry, not just sour or tart, but also varieties such as Montmorency.

Research has established that cherries, particularly sour or tart cherries, have a high antioxidant content, and that claim is increasingly being used.

Newer research focusing on potential benefits in terms of reducing inflammation, painkilling properties and improving sleep quality is being published and publicised, and may already be adding impetus to sales as consumer awareness rises.

Developments have been particularly marked in the USA, where tart cherries are a traditional American fruit. 

North America accounted for 16 per cent of juice drink launches containing cherry, but as well as the more traditional blended products, there have been an increasing number focusing on more specialist cherry juice lines with a strong health image. 

For example, the Cherribundi Tart Cherry juice range launched in late 2011, marketed as "America’s Superfruit" and the Old Orchard Very Cherre Premium Tart Cherry Juice featuring a 100 per cent juice, as well as blends with other superfruits, such as cranberries, blueberries and pomegranate, all marketed as antioxidant rich and a source of vitamins C and E. 

More mainstream products are also starting to appear, with Ocean Spray introducing a Cherry Juice Cocktail in early 2012, following on from a Cran-Cherry blend in 2011.

Cherry is also becoming a more popular flavour in launches in Europe, accounting for over 50 per cent of the 2011 global total, led by the UK and Germany. 

The UK has seen a number of ambient launches over the past few years, including Princes’ inclusion of a Cherry Juice Drink in its exotics range launched in 2011, and has also witnessed the arrival and establishment of specialist brands. 

Cherrygood first introduced its range of cherry juice drinks onto the UK market in 2009 with ambient products, but in 2011 it extended its range with the UK’s first chilled cherry juice in late 2011. 

Cherrygood Premium Cherry was claimed to have the highest levels of cherry juice and protective antioxidants in any leading chilled juice, highlighting the "unique combination of antioxidants" in its Montmorency cherries and how they can contribute to a healthy lifestyle. 

Meanwhile, as is so often the case in the UK, rising interest has also been reflected in rising levels of activity by retailer own-brands, with Marks & Spencer launching a Cherry Juice Drink in a carton in 2011, and Asda adding a Cherry Juice Drink to its Asda Chosen by You range in early 2012.

Lu Ann Williams, Research Manager for Innova Market Insights, reports that cherry juices are clearly increasing in popularity and increasingly carrying a "superfruits" branding in the wake of a growing body of research linking sour cherries to a whole range of health benefits.

This, combined with their unique sweet-sour taste properties, looks set to boost demand and carry cherries still further up the rankings in terms of soft drinks flavour use.

For further information on the Innova Database, the representative for Australia and New Zealand is Glen Wells.

Source: Innova

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