NFC are typically 100% pure juice, without added sugars, water or additives.
China juice market currently stands at around US$10 billion, of which 80% (US$8bn) is made up of juice drinks (contains water and less than 25% juice).
NFC and from-concentrate (FC) juices make up the remaining 20% (US$2bn). However, within this 20%, NFC accounts for an even smaller proportion at just 25% (US$500m).
Shirley Shen, marketing director at JiaJun Beverage told FoodNavigator-Asia that this could be because Chinese consumers typically consume juices on leisure occasions, and did not have the daily habit of drinking juices.
According to Shen, there are less than 30 NFC companies in China.
Other NFC brands in the market include Coca-Cola’s recent entry with Innocent, Huiyuan and Nongfu.
Jiajun Beverage was established in 2011, and its core product, Lingduguofang (100% NFC juice) has been on the market since. There are currently seven flavours, available from 250ml to 960ml (family pack).
The firm’s Rainforest series was launched in May 2020, offering four products with ingredients sourced from the rainforest. Among the existing line-up include blood orange, pineapple + passionfruit, dragonfruit + lychee + cherry, and soursop + coconut.
Shen told us that about 50% of the ingredients in this series were sourced locally, while the other half from Brazil (blood orange), and Europe (berries).
She added that the blood orange contains higher levels of beta-carotene compared to regular oranges.
The company is also planning to roll out another juice range targeted for children. It would retail in Freshhippo (Hema) soon, and was developed to increase its product segmentation.
Shen said it would be available in 180ml bottles designed specifically for children.
On the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the company, Shen said while its sales in February and March dropped across several channels including high-end supermarkets and convenience stores, it quickly grew 40% month-on-month in April and May.
In fact, the firm even recorded an increase in 10% in the first half of this year, compared to the corresponding period last year.
Shen attributes the growth to its presence in new retail channels such as Freshhippo.
In the long run, the company remains positive and confident for the NFC market in China.
Shen added: “We are confident that one day, China’s juice market will be as strong as the dairy market.”
The company recently presented at the Food and Beverage Innovation Forum 2020 (FBIF) held in Hangzhou, China.