Peel & Tonic’s traditional specialism has been in the alcoholic cocktails market, providing high quality fruit garnishes made from a variety of dehydrated ripe fruits.
“We do believe we are the first brand specialising in this area - we saw a big gap in the market for fruit garnishes, or mixer elixirs, especially ones [associated with a brand] and quality assurance or available in regular stores in packages for consumers to buy home and experiment with,” Peel & Tonic National Sales Manager Karina Lunn told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“In Australia in particular, during the COVID-19 lockdowns a lot of people had to stay home and naturally had to make their own cocktails – garnishes are a big part of replicating the restaurant or bar experience of drinking a cocktail, and what we enabled was for consumers to just buy these at the supermarket or online and bring these home to experiment with.
“Now, things are opening up so people can go back to eating out, but many people are still making their own drinks and also holding gatherings at home, so the garnishes come into play yet again, helping with impressing guests and creating that dining out experience.”
In addition, Lunn highlighted that the firm has been seeing increasing demand for its products to be used with non-alcoholic cocktails or mocktails, likely thanks to the emergence of the low-to-no alcohol trend in Australia and worldwide.
“There’s definitely been a big boom in this space, especially in non-alcoholic gins – we’ve recently been seeing all the supermarkets and bottle shops developing sections dedicated to this, and our products are very often placed together with those,” she said.
“So there is clearly a demand from the consumer in this area, where they may not want to drink alcohol yet want something that helps them to elevate their drinking experience to be more interesting and sophisticated. That’s where we come in, as our garnishes are made from dehydrated fruits and have a much stronger fruit flavour intensity in addition to providing that ‘realistic’ cocktail drinking experience – plus the fruit can just be eaten as is after finishing the drink.”
Peel & Tonic’s cocktail garnishes, or ‘mixer elixirs’ as they are dubbed, are already available in all independent supermarkets in Australia including Drakes, IGA, Foodland and so on, health shops, specialty shops and online platforms.
“We’re also currently in talks with the major supermarkets Coles and Woolworths and the relevant bottle shops so that’s likely going to be our next target in expanding,” the firm’s owner Homer Aslanidis added.
“Beyond that, we’ve also now set up in terms of equipment and production capability to have enough volumes to export overseas.
“Asia is definitely the first market of interest, particularly places like Malaysia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, New Zealand is another, as is Europe and the United Kingdom. All products have a long shelf-life of 18 months so are definitely set-up not just for supermarket placement but also long-haul exports.”
Healthy snacking and grazing
Apart from being used as garnishes, the firm believes that it has also identified new market opportunities in the healthy snacking and grazing food sectors.
“As a standalone snack, our products are dehydrated fruits made using no added sugars, colours, additives or preservatives and are gluten-free as well as vegan and paleo-friendly, so would make a very good healthy snack for lunchboxes or other occasions,” said Lunn.
“Most consumers today are also on the lookout for convenient snacks due to a busy schedule, something they can grab and eat right away, and these would tick that box too.”
Aslanidis added that the cheese platter and grazing table sectors also show very high growth potential, and the firm has developed a product specially catered to this segment.
“Grazing tables and cheese platters are very popular options for entertaining guests as these are simple – just get the cheese, some nuts and now a pack of our Glorious Grazing fruits which include dehydrated apples, pears, persimmons and strawberries and you’re good to go,” he said.
“It’s a pretty new segment for us, but we’ve noticed that it’s getting bigger quite quickly, so we’re targeting this market too.”
The firm is also very big on alliterative names – apart from Glorious Grazing, other products include Amazing Apple, Lavish lemon, Luscious Lime, Mighty Mandarin, Opulent Orange, Perfect Pear, Punchy Pineapple, Pure Persimmon, Sweet Strawberry and its best-selling Citrus Circus, which is a medley of various citrus fruits and currently a finalist for the New Product Award in the South Australian Premier’s F&B Industry Awards 2021.
The retail price of most 25g packs (single fruits) are A$7.90 and 80g (mixed fruit) packs are A$17.50, though more expensive fruits such as persimmons and strawberries can cost more.
“The next thing we’re going to do is extend the range depending on consumer demand, likely to include more exotic fruits that may have a short season such that these can be kept and used all year round after dehydration,” said Lunn.