In a survey of 300 millennial Chinese fruit juice consumers, aged between 18 and 35, 60% chose ‘made with fruit grown in the USA’ as the top indicator of a high quality juice. This compared favourably with results for ‘made with fruit grown in Europe’ (46%) and ‘made with fruit grown in Asia’ (24%), showing that for Chinese consumers, US-grown fruit is a top priority when it comes to choosing a fruit juice product.

The research – commissioned by grape juice producer WELCH’s Global Ingredients Group and carried out by Surveygoo – looked into the attitudes and behaviours of Chinese millennials who drink fruit juice. It found that the provenance of a fruit juice – i.e. knowing where the ingredients have come from and whether they have been sustainably sourced – was very important to this group of consumers with 84% stating that they believe it is important to know the origin of the fruit used to make a juice beverage.

Healthy choices

The desire of millennial consumers to know the provenance and nutritional information of the food and drink products they consume is, however, not restricted to the Chinese market. There is a growing trend among health-conscious consumers to pay more attention to the ingredients of the products they consume, as they look for food and drinks with added health and nutritional benefits that align with their desire to lead active and healthy lives.

The survey confirmed this, finding that health is a leading priority for Chinese millennials who drink fruit juice. In selecting a fruit juice, the three most important things these consumers considered where: nutrition and health (78%); good taste (71%); and specific health benefits (63%). When presented with a list of popular beverages, survey respondents ranked milk and 100% fruit juice as the two healthiest choices.

Heart health, digestive health and mind health were listed as the three specific health benefits that Chinese millennial fruit juice drinkers are most interested in getting from their fruit juice. Moreover, a significant percentage of respondents – 61% – said they were more likely to buy a fruit juice if it contains polyphenols, which have been proven to help prevent degenerative diseases including cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

American superfruits

So while the health-related consumer drivers are evident for Chinese millennial fruit juice drinkers, why does this group favour US-grown ingredients over and above products from Europe or Asia? “This survey confirms what we are hearing anecdotally on the ground in China: millennial fruit juice drinkers are looking for products that are made in the USA,” explains Wayne Lutomski, vice president international at Welch’s Global Ingredients Group. “They equate American goods with high quality, and brands that highlight this on-pack and in other marketing activities could gain an edge in China’s competitive juice market.”

A number of opportunities for manufacturers to create differentiated fruit juices that will resonate with Chinese millennial consumers have been highlighted by this research. One of these is the inclusion of ‘superfruits’ as a key ingredient. Fruits deemed ‘super’ by nutritionists – including grapes – are packed with antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients that offer added health benefits and can even prevent diseases. Concord grape juice, for example, tastes great, is packed full of polyphenols to support heart health, and is made from fruit grown in the US by Welch’s grower owners – all of which are key selling points for Chinese consumers.

“[Chinese millennial fruit juice drinkers] appreciate the taste and goodness of 100% fruit juice and are familiar with polyphenols, the beneficial plant nutrients found in superfruits like Concord grapes,” says Lutomski. “Concord grape juice, with its delicious flavour, American roots and research-backed health benefits, is the perfect ingredient for manufacturers looking to create products that align with these consumers’ preferences and stand out in the Chinese beverage market.”