The global market for fruit and vegetable juices is forecast to reach 64.46 billion liters by the year 2015, encouraged by steadily increasing emphasis on health and nutrition. Fruit and Vegetable juices continue to exist as one of the most competitive segments in the beverage industry competing strongly against RTD drinks, sports & energy drinks and bottled water.

Despite being hit by the global recession, the market will pick up pace over the near term, powered by gains made from natural juices, fortified juices and juices made with healthier ingredients.

Fruit juices form part of what are termed as the “New Age Beverages”. These products vie intensely with alternative beverages such as bottled water, RTD (ready-to-drink), sports and energy drinks and various other herbal concoctions promising a unique taste and flavor. Per capita consumption of juices witnessed strong growth rates in developed and emerging markets alike despite volatile economic conditions worldwide.

Juices, more importantly fruit juices, sustained momentum as the most competitive segment in the beverages industry with more number of people across the globe incorporating fruit juices in their meals amidst rising awareness of maintaining healthy and nutritious eating habits.

Currently, natural beverages, manufactured without any additives or preservatives are dominating the fruits and vegetables market. Nutritious food products and drinks manufactured using organic ingredients are gaining preference. In sync with increasing consumer preference towards healthier lifestyles, manufacturers are switching over to healthier ingredients in their juices. Fruit juice companies are adding ingredients such as plant sterols, probiotics and fibers, which lower cholesterol and aid in digestion. Additionally, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants are also being included in juices and products are being tagged as ‘organic’ or ‘premium’. On the other hand, the high-fructose corn syrup that goes into the manufacture of these juice drinks tarnished their healthy image leading to decreased consumer interest. In order to revive the market for drinks, manufacturers are offering healthier choices in the category with claims such as “no high-fructose corn syrup” on labels. Diet Drinks appear to be a promising market worldwide, particularly so in the US, where it is targeted specifically at a growing number of Americans battling obesity and diabetes. This trend has also created parallel demand for fruit-flavored beverages free from sugar.

The juice drinks segment is expected to witness increased demand levels in both value and volume terms as the overall market returns back to pre-crisis levels of growth. Demand is also triggered by the prevalent trend of preference for juice drinks over fruit juices, in majority of Asian and Latin American countries. Growing economies such as China and India present lucrative opportunities in terms of potential consumers.