It seems smoothies have had their heyday and other premium drinks categories, such as pure juice, have also taken a knock in the recession. So what have consumers been drinking instead? From much of the data that has been floating around at the moment, it appears that many consumers have been trading down from pure juice to juice drinks.

In its recently published Soft Drinks Report 2010, Britvic announced that sales of smoothies have "slipped again". "As shoppers stretched their pound further, smoothies proved a stretch too far: the downward trend in sales accelerated to a 27% decline, making them the hardest hit sub-category by far," reveals the firm. In the take-home market, pure juice sales fell in volume and value by 4% to 1,104m litres and £1,163m respectively (AC Nielsen Scantrack, MAT 26 December 2009). However, the pure juice category is still the second-highest category below cola, with a 19% value and 16% volume share.

In contrast the juice drinks category increased by 3% in value to £501m and 1% in volume to 380m litres, holding a 8% value and 6% volume share of the market. Smoothies only hold a 2% share of the market, and are falling in favour down 27% in terms of volume and value.

Britvic says that, within the top 10 brands, those driving the growth were: Rubicon, up 54%; Capri-Sun, up 11%; and Oasis, up 6%. Tropicana saw sales fall by 5.7%.

Perhaps on the back of data such as this, Coca Cola Great Britain (CCGB) has just announced its decision to relaunch its 5-Alive juice drink. Originally introduced in 1981, the drink, now also available in a new apple flavour, will bear the strapline ’Come Alive with 5 Alive’, with the TV ads featuring a Dodo being brought back to life. "We wanted to create a campaign that was memorable, entertaining and would appeal to mums," says Cathryn Sleight, marketing director for CCGB. The company has also just launched a new year-round campaign for its Oasis juice drink.

Targeting mums and, in turn children, is an area Britvic customer development manager Mike Chapman says is a great opportunity for bakers to drive juice sales. He tells British Baker that there are a number of bakery products dedicated to children, such as gingerbread men, so why not drinks? Ten per cent of mums who visit a bakery retailer are willing to buy a drink for their kids, but only 5% actually leave with one, he says. Britvic says mums look for credible brands, and "ranges stocked should reflect what kids want to maximise the ’pester power’ opportunity". Lower sugar options are also a big consideration, reflected by the fact that 85% of Fruit Shoot sold in the UK is the no-added-sugar version.

Fairtrade targets bakery

JP Juices director Tim Kearns says: "Fairtrade juices in bakery shops continue to sell very well." His company supplies 100% Fairtrade juices and juice drinks into a number of bakery shops, as well as other retailers, and has recently introduced AVIT a mix of apple juice/water, or apple & blackcurrant juice/water which he says is the first Fairtrade juice drink on the market.

Kearns says there is a definite move towards value for money, and that the demand for pure juice has "come down a bit", but he adds that juices are an essential drink for bakers to sell alongside no-brainers, such as Coca-Cola and water. "There appears to be a steady increase in apple juice, perhaps at the expense of orange," he adds.

The 15% sales growth at Chegworth Valley Juices also contradicts data that pure juice sales are down, says wholesale manager Paul Spencer. Chegworth supplies farm-pressed juices to a number of restaurants, delicatessens and farm shops, as well as bakery retailers, including Gail’s in London. "I think most people, if they have the disposable income, would prefer to buy a pure juice, rather than a watered-down version," says Spencer.

It appears that, despite the drop in pure juice sales, there is still a definite place for them on the shelves of the chiller, next to the juice drinks and the odd smoothie.