The Juice & Smoothie Association (JASA) claims that the US market for health-related juices and smoothies could soon hit the $1 billion mark, according to a report in the New Nutrition Business newsletter.
The association said that current revenues from juices and smoothies were $919 million and that consumer preferences for healthier meal alternatives and frozen dessert beverages would continue to drive growth in 2002.
The growing popularity of the segment was clearly illustrated when General Nutrition Centers (GNC), the US's largest specialty retailer of vitamins and supplements, announced in November 2001 that it planned to open as many as 300 GNC Smoothie Bars in 2002.
GNC Smoothies offer consumers healthy frozen fruit drinks combined with specific supplements that address common health and lifestyle concerns like diet, health, sports performance and energy.
Mike Meyers, President and CEO of GNC, said: "Smoothies are a proven healthy alternative to drinks that may be high in calories and over processed. In test stores, GNC Smoothie Bars increased foot traffic and created significant increases in supplement sales. The Smoothies also help leverage the GNC brand and our multi-million dollar advertising and promotions campaigns."
GNC is the largest US specialty retailer of vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements and sports nutrition as well as personal care and related products, operating more than 5,300 retail outlets throughout the United States.