Caleb Bryant
Caleb Bryant is Associate Director, Food & Drink at Mintel, specializing in changing consumer attitudes, industry news and beverage trends.

The US juice market is facing stagnation due to concerns over sugar content and consumers drinking other beverage types (eg RTD coffee, bottled water and hybrid drinks). Specifically, sales of traditional juices such as 100% orange juice are falling fast. However, the juice drinks that are performing well tend to satisfy more unique occasions than traditional juice such as lemonade, coconut water and sparkling juice hybrid drinks. As such, juice brands need to identify new occasions to satisfy and the evening occasion may be a whitespace opportunity.

Consumers may not associate juice as an evening beverage, but juice brands can position themselves as a night time drink by focusing on some key consumer trends. According to the Mintel Trend ‘Slow It All Down,’ the fast-paced world consumers live in is leading to an uptick in products/experiences focused on relaxation. There has been a strong growth in herbal teas with relaxing or sleep enhancing claims, and juice drinks have an opportunity to also make such claims. For example, juices made with adaptogens (stress reducing compounds found in ingredients such as ashwagandha, holy basil and maca) can be marketed as a way to de-stress before bed.

Digestion/gut health is also a claim many juice brands now highlight, however, very few market their products for night time consumption. These products can be marketed as a type of digestif, a non-alcoholic after dinner drink. Less sweet juices with ingredients that promote digestive health like ginger, probiotics and fennel could appeal to health-conscious consumers who want a non-alcoholic nightcap and the 31% of iGens who are interested in juice with added probiotics, according to Mintel’s research on the US juice market.

What we think

While evening juices are inspiring product innovation around the world, its still a niche opportunity in the US. The average US consumer has no idea what an adaptogen is, most consumers don’t drink digestifs and right now, very few products make these evening claims. However, brands such as Califa Farms, GT’s Kombucha and REBBL are launching drinks with stress-reducing claims. If more brands play into this stress-free space it will likely create more demand among consumers, creating more space for juice brands to play in. With the juice market struggling, brands must look for any and all occasions/dayparts for growth.