Gourmet pasteurized fruits & vegetables for juicing maintain nutrient value
Juice is trendy, even though it’s a product that’s been around for quite some time. The difference today is the way customers perceive the various types of processing. The challenge is having them be aware of the differences – and benefits of certain methods.
Minimal processing = more nutritional value
While Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company has been in the business for 28 years they still manage to be on trend since juice blends are “becoming chic again.” Customers demand food that is simpler. “Consumers want to know what is in their food and know the ingredients, where the ingredients are coming from and at Natalie’s all of our juices are made with five ingredients or less,” explains Natalie Sexton, namesake of Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company. “The reason for that is because we want to give the consumer as much nutrition as possible and we want to process the juice as minimally as possible. Less processing equals more nutrients.” That also means an authentic product that’s free from preservatives or concentrates. “We want to continue to do that regardless of the trends.”
Some product labels unclear on methods
Sexton says they face misconceptions by consumers about the processing methods themselves; ultra-pasteurization, gourmet pasteurization, HPP and what she says is claimed to be cold processed. Natalie’s juices are gourmet pasteurized, which means the absolute minimal time and temperature the product is exposed to that’s allowed by the FDA. “What it does is kill any harmful bacteria but still leaves the nutrients.” There’s a battle going on between heat pasteurizing and pressure pasteurizing (HPP) and a misunderstanding by the consumer on what processing methods actually mean and what happens during the process. “Brands label their juices ‘cold-pressed’ on the front of their bottles, but oftentimes if you turn the bottle around it actually says ‘pasteurized’ on the back. When you pasteurize something for two to five minutes – or use HPP – you actually kill a lot more nutrients.”
Real food goes bad: no preservatives
According to Sexton, it’s the job of processors to be truthful in what they’re doing; how each method affects their food. The less processed a product is, the shorter its shelf life, which she says is essentially a good thing. “What I like to tell people is that your food should go bad,” she says. “That means there hasn’t been over processing, no preservatives – it means it’s in somewhat of a fresh state. If the shelf-life of a brand can last over a month you have to ask yourself why?” Her biggest challenge as a marketer is also the packaging. While some companies have spent a lot of money on branding and creative, the message about the actual nutritional value of the product itself may be lost, or unapparent. “Five years ago, we could sell the juice based off of the quality and taste. Now you give (people) the quality and they enjoy it but then they have questions: Is it raw? Is it organic? Is it cold-pressed? But do they know what those terms even mean today?”
Branding & local produce
The last two years, Natalie’s has focused on branding that reflects their juice’s simplicity: the ingredients. “One of our sole branding messages is we want consumers to read their ingredients and know what’s in the juices. On our label, we call out the ingredients – i.e. how many.” That also means if it’s an orange-beet juice, that’s all there is. They’re also vigilant about mentioning sources for their produce. “When we say it’s orange-beet juice, we’ll indicate the oranges are from Florida and the beets are from Oregon, for example,” notes Sexton. Recently launched holiday blends include: Pumpkin Spice, Orange Cranberry, Carrot Ginger Turmeric, and Blood Orange.
Produce sources are still based on the company’s original ethos, which was to only source citrus from Florida as well as other ingredients. “Obviously over 28 years things do change, but to this day we do our best to source from Florida. If we can’t get it from there then we go to other states in the US. If it’s not available like lemons, for example, we’ll outsource as a last resort.”
Committed to Florida citrus
Where the recently devastating weather in Florida is concerning, Sexton says their supply hasn’t been affected yet. “They’re projecting 30-50% of the crops were lost. Fortunately, because of the way we source, supply hasn’t been affected yet because we purchase only the highest quality oranges and grapefruit in Florida, which are typically the most expensive. We’re willing to pay more for our fruits and there’s no compromising.” They’ll continue to buy citrus from within Florida for as long as they’re able.
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Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company
Publication date: 10/5/2017
Author: Rebecca D Dumais
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