Recent research has found that those aged 18-35 years old still see fruit juice as a healthy alternative. Researchers asked 300 French and German fruit juice drinkers a range of questions to look at their attitudes to juices they buy. In the study, respondents listed sparkling water, 100% fruit juice and milk as the healthiest options despite recent bad press that the fruit juice industry has received in recent years. “Millennial fruit juice drinkers believe what we have known for years, 100% fruit juice is a delicious and nutritious beverage choice that can be part of a well-balanced diet. It’s clear that these consumers appreciate that fruit juice not only contains natural sugars but also delivers science-backed benefits and valuable nutrients for health,” said Wayne Lutomski, Vice President International & Welch’s Global Ingredients group.

Conversely, according to the New Zealand Beverage Council, recent research shows that Kiwis are consuming more water and diet drinks, but less sugar. Research conducted for them by Nielsen showed that almost 53% of people surveyed said they were concerned about the role that sugar plays in their diet. However, at the New Zealand Beverage Council’s annual conference in Taupo last October, Dr Bill Shrapnel, Australia’s self-proclaimed ‘skeptical nutritionist,’ said that there is increasing confusion between what science had to say about sugar in our diets and what social media or the mainstream had to say. “This shift in the science has provided various players with opportunities to push their interests, and positioning sugar as ‘toxic’ (an absurd claim) is part of the strategy,” he said. Those working in the industry can take away the lesson from all this that consumers not only need clearer information but that they are also better able to digest this information and make informed buying choices.

The survey revealed that health is a key priority for European Millennial fruit juice drinkers, with 73% saying the health benefits were important. The survey also found that respondents would be more likely to buy a fruit juice that highlights it is made with real fruit as well as showing how important taste and wellbeing benefits were. Respondents also said they were more likely to buy a superfruit juice if they knew that it tasted good. For the industry, the consequences are clear, millennial consumers are more health-conscious, taste-conscious and are able to make sophisticated choices when it comes to beverage buying than perhaps previously thought.