However, in recent years consumers have become increasingly savvy to the often high, naturally occurring sugar content found in fruit juice, and started looking for alternative options. Rising concerns over sugars in western diets and increasing levels of diabetes means more consumers want to swerve the sweet stuff in any form. Instead they’re favoring natural and healthy drinks which can deliver vitamins and micronutrients, but with less calories and sugar.
That’s where vegetable-based juices are coming into their own. Ingredients like cucumber, kale and spinach offer the same health benefits as fruit, but are lower in both calories and sugar.
“It’s a huge trend,” comments Julie Barnes, Product Development Specialist at global flavor ingredients manufacturer, Treatt. “As well as being healthier, ingredients like kale have seen a big rise in popularity over the past few years. They’ve gained an almost cult following and it’s now ‘cool’ to have something like a kale smoothie or green juice.”
Treatt is an expert in creating entirely natural flavor ingredients for the beverage industry and has been doing so for more than 100 years.
“The demand for vegetables as beverage ingredients is definitely increasing,” Julie adds. “We’re seeing lots of requests for things like cucumber and ginger flavors. Peppers are becoming popular too. Whether its bell peppers or spicier jalapeños or chipotle, the range of colors and heat levels mean that a humble pepper can add a really exciting twist to a beverage.”
Ginger has long been badged as one of the must-have ingredients to boost health, reported to help relieve nausea, cure a cold or soothe an upset digestive system. Already popular in tea, cold-pressed ginger juices and ginger and turmeric shots are also becoming increasingly common.
Any ingredients which help aid hydration are sought after too. Julie explains: “Cucumber is one of our most popular extracts because it feels really refreshing. Watermelon is great for hydration too.”
However, the green trend won’t spell the end for fruit.
“Although vegetable-based beverages are becoming more sought-after in their own right, there is still a place for fruit. As well as the health benefits, the consumer sweet tooth must be sated, so a combination of fruit and vegetables answers this demand nicely. Keep an eye out for ever increasing fruit and vegetable blends – think strawberry and basil, or kiwi and spinach.”
Developed by Treatt’s team of international experts, the company’s range of fruit and vegetable extracts offer powerful, authentic solutions for a range of applications, including alcoholic drinks, low and no, juices, colas, smoothies and still and sparkling waters.