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AJ Bernstein of Bolthouse Farms:

“Consumers are increasingly looking for plant-based options, especially during the pandemic”

The onset of the pandemic in March brought on some unexpected purchasing habits and everyone in the produce supply chain had to pivot to be able to continue to meet consumer demand. One of the strongest trends is the focus on healthy, immunity boosting, plant-based foods. Bolthouse Farms has been developing plant-based products for quite some time, and they were ready to meet the consumers’ needs. 

BOLTS Functional Shots is one of Bolthouse's recently released lines.

Tracking consumer trends: Immunity boosting products
Through extensive consumer behavior tracking, Bolthouse Farms understands consumer needs and met the demand. AJ Bernstein, VP of Marketing at Bolthouse Farms, explains: “There was a big product shift that came with the increase in home cooking: the demand for smaller, single serve or snack pack products was mostly overtaken by demand for larger size packages. There’s also a big focus on value right now. Whether the consumer has a changed financial situation due to the pandemic or they are just being more cautious, overall they are looking for more value-oriented products.”

Bolthouse's C-Boost line saw an enormous spike in demand during the pandemic.

Another trend which was already important prior to the pandemic but which has only expanded during the past few months has been the focus on products geared toward maintaining immune health. Consumers are very cognizant of what and how they eat, and the overall impact of their food on their immune system, Bernstein shares. For Bolthouse, this demand ties in well with their offering: “We grow and sell carrots, which are an integral part of the ‘eating the rainbow’ philosophy, and we’ve seen the demand for carrots spike during the pandemic,” Bernstein says.

Bolthouse also has a beverage line that focuses on boosting the immune systems. “One product is called C-Boost, which is a 100% fruit juice smoothie with no added sugar. It is an excellent source of vitamin C: one 8 ounce serving contains 600% of your daily value of vitamin C. We’ve seen that people are really excited about this product right now. We also have an entire suite of items that work to nourish the immune system: Green Goodness juice smoothie, for example, which is packed with vitamin C and B12, and Multi-V Goodness, a fruit juice smoothie which has 100% of the daily vitamin C, A and E as well as lots of fiber,” Bernstein explains.

The Green Goodness line.

Bolthouse has also recently released a new carrot juice flavor combination: carrot-ginger-turmeric, which targets gut health, anti-inflammation, and vitamin A intake. Their brand-new line of BOLTS functional shots also targets immunity and wellness, with special blends for immunity, digestion, energy, wellness, and metabolism.

Driven by innovation, especially in a pandemic
Bolthouse Farm’s mission is Plants Powering People, and this vision drives everything they do; the company is constantly working to find new and innovative ways to bring this vision to life. “Innovation is a huge driver at Bolthouse,” says Bernstein. “When there is a major societal shift, like the one that was brought on by the pandemic, we have to stay on our toes as innovators to continue to meet the needs of the consumers. Because of the pandemic, we’re seeing that plant-based diets are growing much quicker than we had initially expected, so we continue to innovate to provide more exciting options to the consumers.”

At the United Fresh LIVE! virtual trade show, Bolthouse debuted a new line of plant-based dressings as well as a line of keto drinks. “The goal is to help people eat more plants. The consumer’s needs don’t stop just because of these changes in our daily lives, so we have to pivot to continue to meet their needs. We are working to create the products that consumers are looking for, and we have more plant-based products launching in the fall. We want to create a more plant-based food supply for healthier people, and a healthier planet,” Bernstein concludes.

For more infomation:
Alan Hilowitz
Bolthouse Farms

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