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Aloe use expands in functional drinks

However, only 10 of the aloe drinks launched in 2013 were released in the United States, which denotes a 52 percent decrease from the previous year, according to Mintel GNPD data.

Aloe vera drinks have been popular internationally, showcasing steady growth for many years, says Mick Anderson, director of sales for Terry Laboratories, Melbourne, Fla.

In particular, the segment has performed well in Asia and Europe but still is emerging in the United States, notes Jeff Barrie, eastern regional sales manager for Aloecorp, Seattle. In recent years, however, an influx of single-serve aloe vera drinks from Asia has hit the US market, he says. 

For instance, SPI West Port’s Alo Drink offers a line of aloe vera juices with aloe vera pulp that comes from Thailand and Taiwan, the San Francisco-based company says.

Dollar sales for the brand increased 24 percent for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 26, 2013, in all US grocery stores except Whole Foods Market, making it the top-selling brand within the aloe vera beverage segment and the No. 2 best-selling brand within the functional beverage segment, says SPI West Port, citing data from Spins.

In comparison, the entire aloe vera beverage segment increased nearly 34 percent during the timeframe within the channel, it reports. Furthermore, shelf-stable, bottled aloe vera juices increased 17 percent in dollar sales for the 52 weeks ending Nov 3 in supermarkets, drug stores, mass market retailers, gas and convenience stores, military commissaries, and select club and dollar retail chains, according to Information Resources (IRI), a Chicago-based market research firm.

This suggests that although aloe vera beverage launches decreased in the United States last year, the segment as a whole is growing.

And while Aloecorp’s Barrie expects aloe vera juices to continue growing, he says the next phase will be beverage-makers incorporating aloe vera as a supplementary ingredient into healthy beverages, such as tea, sparkling water, flavoured water and juice.

According to the International Aloe Science Council (IASC), the primary component of the aloe vera plant is the leaf, which can be processed in two ways to make aloe vera juice. The juice also can be converted to powder or concentrated.

Incorporating aloe vera into a beverage application can present a vegetable-like odour and taste as well as light colouring; however, its health benefits are what draw in consumers, notes Terry Laboratories’ Anderson. In fact, top new product development teams and executives rank aloe as one of the Top 10 most important ingredients for skin and overall digestive wellbeing, according to the IASC, he says.

“While no claims are intended to be made, there have been good, legitimate scientific studies to indicate that aloe can be helpful with gastrointestinal disorders,” Anderson says. “Higher molecular weight polysaccharides found in aloe vera has been beneficial for the immune system.”…. Read the full article