SMOOTHIES: Meeting the changing needs of consumers
The changes driven by modern society have impact not only on style and quality of life, but also on consumer’s conscience regarding health and well-being issue. Nowadays consumers tend to prefer food products related to health benefits with clean labels and simple ingredients. Fruits and vegetables provide the adequate amounts of fiber and phytochemicals, reducing the risk of several chronic diseases but the current dietary habits hardly provide the sufficient amount of those components. The major part of fruits and vegetables are consumed fresh or industrially processed with an increasing trend towards ready-to-drink. Fruit or vegetable smoothies could be a convenient choice to complement a healthy diet, due to their health-promoting properties. In fact, smoothies might be considered as typical examples of the so called "superfoods", which are defined as a natural food regarded as especially beneficial because of its nutrient profile or its health-protecting qualities.
Smoothies or smoothie-type beverages are defined as blended beverages containing fruit or vegetable, fruit or vegetable juice, ice, yoghurt, milk, honey and other ingredients. These products are typically purchased freshly prepared from juice bars or as a processed product (mildly pasteurised) from the chilled section of retail outlets. Commercial fruit smoothies are recent available options in the market.
Despite worsening global economic conditions the world smoothie market is projected to 2.8% annual growth from 2011 to 2016 (Juice & Smoothie Bars Market Research Report, 2016). This is primarily driven by the above mentioned worldwide rising health consciousness among consumers, on-the-go consumption, convenience and perceived “fresh-like” taste offered by smoothies. The global market for smoothies is projected to reach US$15.8 billion by 2022, driven by the growing popularity of juice cleanses for detoxification and the ensuing popularity of detox smoothies and consumer preference for delicious, fresh fruit juices in smooth, creamy textures. Increasing health consciousness and busy lifestyles have transforms smoothies from an indulgent treat to a convenient meal replacement option for on-the-go consumers. The United States represents the largest market worldwide. Asia-Pacific is forecast to register the fastest compound annual rate growth of 9.1% over the analysis period led by factors such as growing middle class population in countries such as China and India, westernization of food consumption patterns, growing sophistication of food habits, rising levels of obesity and the ensuing consumer preference for juicing as an effective weight loss management strategy.