Media scrutiny isn’t the only pressure being felt by juices and smoothies. A fast-growing production process is also exerting pressure – of a more literal kind – on the category.
Juices and smoothies are traditionally pasteurised at high temperatures, but an increasing number of products are now undergoing high-pressure processing (HPP), also known as cold-pressing.
This has advantages over heating as it preserves the taste of the fruit and retains nutrients that some ingredients lose when heated, claim suppliers.
“We use HPP rather than high-temperature flash pasteurising to offer better taste, aroma, vibrant colours and higher nutritional value,” says Geeta Sidhu Robb, CEO of Nosh Raw Smoothie.
Supplier Coldpress expanded from juices into smoothies, working with the Tesco buying team to develop four flavours that rolled out to 600 Tesco stores in September. This year, it hopes to offset concerns over sugar by pushing the nutritional benefits of its products. It also plans to launch fruit & veg drinks – a growing sub-category occupied by players including Savse, which uses ingredients including kale and broccoli in its smoothies.
“We started out using pasteurisation but wanted our drinks to be as nutritious as possible, which is why we switched to HPP,” says Savse MD Guka Tavberidze. “HPP will become more popular as people become aware of the improved taste profile.”
The vegetable content in Vegesentials already helps to lower the amount of naturally occurring sugars in the products, says UK co-founder Patience Arinaitwe-Mugadu.
They’re also made using HPP, a technology that could help reverse the decline in smoothies, she believes. “Consumers are looking for drinks with less sugar, more naturally occurring health benefits and an uncompromising fresh taste, which suggests the use of HPP as opposed to heat processing.”