Uncle Matt’s featured in April 2010 issue of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods Retailer magazine
Innovative new products “will continue to receive a warm reception,” insists Matt McLean, CEO and founder of orange juice producer Uncle Matt’s Organic, Clermont, Fla. (352-394-8737), “as long as they are hitting their demographics correctly. I think organic is still a hot trend and is still trending upward even though the economy has set everybody back on a slower pace.”
Consumers, McLean adds, are looking for more wellness-oriented beverages, “anything that has a good angle at nutrition and nutrient density. The door is always open.”
Commodity prices were “okay until we had a freeze,” he notes. “Supply is dropping on the ground.”
McLean lauds many of the bigger, mainstream grocery chains that have become more sophisticated in their better-for-you beverage merchandising, whether they are among those creating special sections for wellness-oriented products or part of the group integrating them into conventional sets.
“They are both doing a pretty good job of making sure the consumer knows that it’s an organic item,” he says.
For example, Publix has a new brown tag that identifies all of its natural and organic items. Kroger is finding success with its Nature’s Marketplace, a store-within-a-store concept that comes complete with its own marketing materials.
Exciting new flavors, good-for-you ingredients and strong instore merchandising can help buffer refrigerated beverages against the gyrations of the economy. Barlows, for one, remains optimistic.
“We had a successful 2009 and look forward to and hope to have a similarly successful 2010,” he says.