According to a study of ProColombia, European consumers no longer view tropical fruits as exotic South American fruits but as superfood that are part of their daily diet.
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According to the report, there is a growing trend in Europe for one hundred percent natural fruit juices with low sugar content because of economic, social, environmental and technological factors.
However, due to their high price, these fruits have become a premium niche product that is consumed in the richest European markets, the report states.
Central Europe consumes a less expensive alternative: processed fruits and vegetables, mostly of nectars that contain between 24 and 99 percent fruit level.
According to ProColombia's study, the "importance of a healthy diet will continue to grow and the trend will change from a diet high in carbohydrates and meat, to one with more fruits and vegetables. Therefore, in addition to providing a product that certifies being healthy and explicitly stating its health benefits, the product should also be sustainable."
Consumer trends and European markets "are increasingly demanding more products that are socially and corporately responsible, that are innovative in their packaging and that have competitive prices."
According to the study, the added value differentiators in the European market are: "Authenticity, consumers increasingly demand products with a seal of authenticity or denomination of origin, they appreciate the stories behind the product.
The product's presentation: the products must be ready for consumption, there is also an increasing demand for products that come in individual servings and in environmentally friendly packaging.
New flavors; innovation in flavors will continue to have a growing trend because of the benefits that the mixed flavors can offer. The products that include herbs, spices, or exotic fruits in their mixes have an opportunity in the premium niche markets."
One of the most common tropical fruits, which is almost always present in the mixtures including tropical fruits, is the mango. However, it is not very common finding mango juice.
Pineapple is primarily used in blends, but consumers can easily find pineapple juice in the market; plantain is only present in mixtures; and gulupa (also known as purple passion fruit) is the main exotic fruit in juices. Almost all brands have a juice that includes this fruit.
Coconut was included in many mixtures because of its nutritional properties. In addition, there has been a significant expansion in coconut water drinks with mixed natural juices, especially in the healthy and organic beverages segment.
"The countries of the European Union are an important market for Colombian processed fruits and vegetables. Exports of these products grew by 14 percent between 2014 and 2015," stated the study.
The main destinations for these products, which come from Cundinamarca, Caldas, Bogota, Antioquia, and Valle del Cauca, amongst other regions in Colombia, are the UK, Germany, Netherlands, France and Spain. ■