Despite the fact the recession is impacting the sales of juices and smoothies, bakers can still market these products to their advantage by focusing on trends that remain strong, such as health. The Americans seem to be ahead of the UK on this one, with many bakery and juice bars dotted across the nation, balancing the treat of a sweet pastry with a nutritious juice.

The secret of their success may lie in their price promotions alongside bakery products. According to Britvic’s 2009 Soft Drinks Report, published in March, consumers are increasingly watching out for promotions. "Promotions are a staple part of our industry’s marketing, accounting for 61% of total branded sales," comments Britvic chief executive Paul Moody. "As economic conditions have worsened, traditional favourites such as cola, squash and juice drinks have benefited."

How to go about it

There are a range of options for bakery retailers looking to sell juices and smoothies. Firstly, the range of on-the-go drinks products available is huge - and expanding all the time. At the recent IFE exhibition in March, you would have been forgiven for thinking the recession is just a scare story, as NPD and expansion was around every exhibitor corner. Chegworth Valley, which produces farm-pressed juices, was showcasing its new organic juice range, while Bottlegreen launched its new drinks range, Classic Variety Cordials, consisting of: Williams Pear & Elderflower, Blackberry & Russet Apple and Cox’s Apple & Plum varieties.

Juice giant Tropicana has also just introduced three new flavours to its on-the-go offering: Orange & Mango, Mango, Peach & Papaya and Passionfruit, Pear & Apple. David Johnston, general manager for Tropicana, says it’s important to offer a variety of different flavours. "Over half of all chilled juice is consumed outside breakfast time, so it’s important for retailers to be offering their customers a broad range of flavours to complement orange."

Another company hot on the heels of the healthy juice trend is Johnsons Juice Co. The firm’s freshly squeezed juices are well known on the foodservice circuit, but are now making tracks in the bakery sector. Group marketing manager Andrew Ovens says these sort of products "provide consumers with a genuine alternative and bakery outlets with the opportunity to generate incremental category growth".

He explains that different juices are popular at different times of the day. For example, orange juice sells well in the morning, as it naturally accompanies morning goods. "However, from looking at data from TNS, it appears consumers like to team up fresh apple juice with a lunchtime eat," adds Ovens. In terms of size, he says the most popular for individual customers is a 250ml bottle of juice.

Do it yourself

Another option for bakers wanting to get in on some juicing action is to produce their own. A number of firms offer juicing and smoothie equipment, which doesn’t take up much space on the counter.

Italian ice-cream manufacturer, Carpigiani offers the ’Spin’ machine, which can be used to produce slushes, shakes and smoothies. Equipment distributor Apuro also offers juicing equipment, with its Friul juice extractors and recommends it as an easy way for coffee shops and bakeries to capture the health market by offering pure fruit or vegetable juice as a menu option. Meanwhile, companies such as Smoothie Operator offer a range of stock, including individual smoothie packs, smoothie blends or simply bulk frozen fruit.

These drinks can easily be used in meal deal offers and, with the summer coming, bakers need to make sure they have their chillers stocked with something cool and refreshing.

So for bakery retailers looking to capitalise on the health trend, as well as offering an interes-ting and varied drinks range, juices and smoothies could provide a way in.