There is an unusual alternative to fruit juices in this summer's soft drinks. It is the vegetable juice, and it is, according to Lawrence Mallinson of James White drinks, ‘a market ready for storming'.
Whether this is practical is still unknown. On the one hand, one of the café sector's major wholesalers has recently decided that their carrot and apple drink was ‘too adventurous' for the market, but on the other, Metro Drinks has reported that its summer blend of orange, carrot and lemon is selling as fast as any other product.
Lawrence Mallinson spent years in the soup sector as one of the founders of the New Covent Garden Soup Company so it is no surprise that he has turned up as a pioneer of the concept of vegetable-based soft drinks.
His latest launch is the Manicorganic range of freshly-pressed juices and nectars, featuring the unusual flavours of apple and beetroot, orange and carrot.
"Apple and beetroot will be a surprise to many who remember the nasty stuff that stained school lunches," he says. "It is actually a very easy and refreshing drink, and we have tried to make it more ‘approachable' with the use of apple, but certainly the recent publicity about its blood pressure-reducing attributes has resulted in a huge inquisitiveness about beetroot, and an increase in our sales of beetroot juice.
"The vegetable juice for most customers to start with is definitely our organic carrot and apple, which is outselling most of our organic fruit juices. The key is the addition of freshly pressed apple, which lifts the carrot juice, makes it surprisingly sweet and gives it a delicious full flavour.
"To be fair, they will not be right for all caterers. In the centre of the large cities, it is really our organic fruit juices that have proved a definite hit with sandwich shops and coffee bars. Our classic (non-organic) English apple juice range works best in smaller towns and rural locations. The urban consumer is much more enthusiastic about organic products than rural consumers."
By Ian Boughton