THE FRUIT and veggie juice market has untapped potential waiting to be unlocked, Nestlé Anglo-Dutch Caribbean’s market head, Patricio Torres, believes.
Just last month, Nestle launched a new line of fruit and vegetable juices, Nutri-Go energy shake, at its Valsayn factory.
And under the Orchard brand, Nestle has had a longstanding tradition of providing quality fruit juices. "Four months ago, we were also celebrating 14 new flavours in Orchard and we continue with many good surprises," he said.
This sort of innovation, Torres explained, is important because in the current economic situation it is not easy to grow the business, to meet consumer expectations. Where other companies are all the time trying to surprise consumers, "Nestle has to as a market leader keep our historical role.”
This role is not simply about selling more products than its competitors but also being at the forefront of consumer trends and develop new products to satisfy those tastes.
"In juices, for many years Orchard has been the first Trinidadian option. The brand became meaningful because we took some risks, always trying to anticipate consumer trends. One such trend is consumers switching from ordinary fruit juices to fruit and veggie juices.” In his native Chile, for example, Torres said this was the reality.
He gave the example of the Tamaya Gourmet project, launched by Chilean company Agricola Tamaya in 2005. Out of that project came Chilean Carica, the company's first 100 per cent pure fruit juice, created for a growing health conscious trend by consumers.
Chilean Carica was a revelation for Tamaya Gourmet's partners and the first spark for a much more ambitious project. The company subsequently started developing juices made from a variety of fruits and vegetables.
"When you don't know exactly how consumers will react, somebody has to take the risk to present something new for consumers," Torres said. He was confident that consumers in TT will gravitate towards fruit and veggie juices within the near future.
And those consumers will recognise Nestle as the company that is ahead, setting trends for the future, where fruit and veggie juices are concerned. Torres underscored the importance that Nestlé continues to put on creating healthy and nutritional foods for consumers. "This is part of our DNA. Taste and healthy nutrition are not opposites." Last March, Nestle launched a 200 ml version of its line of fruit juices in response to customer feedback. Previously, Nestle reduced the amount of sugar in Orchard juices by 40 per cent as part of its drive to make healthy products that taste good.
Nestle worked on its fruit and veggie juice line for over a year. "Our consumers don't deserve a product without attention to every single detail." And in keeping with consumer trends towards healthier foods, Nestle has been reducing the sugar content in its products – another part of the company’s mission to "continue improving its portfolio."
He was confident that the company’s new line of Orchard fruit and veggie juices would make a big impact in the market. "We believe we are going to sell a lot.”
The company’s business executive officer, Elisa Doldron, also thinks the line will encourage people to buy more local foods.
Some consumers have the impression that imported brands are better. “We want to show that we can produce products locally that can compete with, if not exceed, the quality of imported products,” she said.
Traditionally Orchard focused more on the juice drink, she said, but Nestle sees the way forward for Orchard as a leader in the market is to have products with less sugar and 100 per cent juice. This new green and yellow medley fruit and veggie juice blend is 100 per cent juice and has no added sugar.
Doldron said a red medley fruit and veggie juice will be launched in the next two months, with other juices to come later. Noting that Nestle has been in the market since 1962, with the Valsayn factor established in the 1970s, Doldron said the company has been working with both local and international suppliers for raw materials and ingredients.
Producing this new line will be no different and the company is eager to create business opportunities for local fruit and vegetable farmers, the end result of which could be helping to reduce the country’s food import bill, last estimated to be about $5.6 billion.