People who like wine usually develop a preference for a particular grape variety. A similar thing could soon happen with juice drinkers: ‘variety’ is the current catchword for fruit juice specialists such as Amecke GmbH & Co. KG and the Maspex Group with their brand Tymbark. Because all apples are not the same. Both companies are introducing juices made from specific varieties, to cater to the tastes of discerning consumers and encourage them to drink juice.

In Europe, the market for juice and juice drinks is largely saturated. And it is a highly competitive market: beverage manufacturers try to differentiate themselves from the competition with new products, to secure market shares.

“The apple juices you find on supermarket shelves today are generally blends of juices from different apple varieties. The ratio of ingredients depends on availability. However, we believe unmixed premium juices have potential – especially in markets that demand high standards for food and beverages. That’s exactly where we’re placing our range of ‘Mein Lieblingsapfel’ (My Favorite Apple) products, which we’ve incorporated into our premium assortment,” says Ariana Amecke-Moennighof, product manager at Amecke.

In addition to its traditional apple juice range, in Germany the company now also has the unmixed varieties Golden Delicious (‘velvety and balanced’), Idared (‘powerful & original’) and Cripps Pink (‘temptingly fruity’) on sales shelves.

“The conventional types are on sale, as usual, in 1-liter carton packs. For the ‘Mein Lieblingsapfel’ range, we’ve opted for the 750ml variant. Both these volumes can be filled on one and the same SIG Combibloc filling machine, which makes us very flexible in production,” continues Amecke-Moennighof.

A recent consumer survey by market intelligence agency Mintel confirms this approach: in Germany, more than a quarter of respondents aged over 16 would buy juices made from specific fruit varieties. A similar picture emerged in France and Spain, where 23%of those polled are interested in variety-specific juice; in Italy the figure is 21% and in Poland around 30%.

Older varieties very popular right now

That is a good basic prerequisite for the Maspex Group in Poland. The company has now added apple juices made from the varieties Antonowka, Champion and Jonagold to its Tymbark brand range.

“For our new variety-specific, not-from-concentrate juices, we only use apple varieties that are popular with Polish consumers right now. Antonowka is an old Russian apple variety – sweet and sour in flavor. The Champion is full of flavor, and is characterized by a very low acid content. In comparison, the Jonagold has quite a subtle, delicately fruity taste. With this variety of options on offer, each consumer can find the juice he likes best,” Dorota Liszka, corporate communication manager at Maspex Group.

Juice from local, traditional apple varieties in particular gives consumers the reassuring feeling that they are buying natural, healthy, high-quality products with a transparent and traceable source.

“For many consumers, transparency in respect of a product’s source reassures buyers, and is an indication of high quality. Variety-specific juices with regional provenance are a very good example of how manufacturers can make use of the potential associated with prevailing consumer values. The packaging can contribute to consumers identifying products as authentic and high quality,” Norman Gierow, head of global product management market at SIG Combibloc.

SIG Combibloc is one of the world’s leading system suppliers of carton packaging and filling machines for beverages and food. In 2015 the company achieved a turnover of 1,720 million Euro with around 5,000 employees.