Years ago, I conducted research on blueberry juice. At that time I could only find two products, one in Vancouver BC ad the other in Las Vegas. (figure that connection). This was before the health benefits of blueberries launched the Little Blue Dynamos into food industry hyper drive!
Today, I am back to researching blueberry beverages. MINTEL Global New Products Database identifies around 1,000 new blueberry-containing juices which have been introduced in North America since 1996. In 2013, we saw about 100. In looking at the juice products, this is an enigma. The packages have blueberries on the label, then you look at the ingredient statement and the 100% juice product is actually made predominantly wit other juices.
The reason is simple: consumers want blueberries! Anyone who has tasted 100 percent blueberry juice will affirm that it is a “refreshing” experience. Blueberry juice goes very well in blends with other fruit juices. My question and reason for research is to answer the question — just how much blueberry should be in a blueberry identified beverage. There are no FDA standards of identity that I can find. Codex Alimentarius defines some standards for juice. North American manufacturers are expert at label laws and ingredient statements.
Ten years ago, blubbery juice and concentrates were less common and sometimes not that easy to source. Blueberries are not produced for juice after all. The juice stock is made from products that do not go to fresh or frozen and further processed blueberries. With rising production, there is more blueberry available for juice. My message to juice companies is to take another look at blueberry juice. Now is a good time to develop real significant blueberry juices and blends. Tell the consumer you have “more blueberries!”
Let me know what you think.