The Minute Maid Company has introduced what it claims is the first national brand of vitamin D-fortified juice. Minute Maid vitamin D and calcium-fortified juices will be launched in the US in April, to a chilled orange juice market worth around $3.1 billion (€3.5bn).
The introduction of its vitamin D-fortified juices follows the growing trend for calcium-fortified orange juice. Since Minute Maid's launch of this product in 1987, the calcium-fortified orange juice sector has grown significantly and in 2001, made up 30 per cent of overall chilled orange juice sales and 40 per cent of Minute Maid Premium chilled orange juice sales.
"Vitamin D fortification, in conjunction with calcium, provides a delicious, convenient way to help consumers build healthier bones," said CEO of Minute Maid America, Donald Knauss. "We expect significant consumer interest in this Minute Maid innovation, which will contribute to growth for both the category and Minute Maid branded products."
Vitamin D is essential for the body's absorption of calcium, which helps to form and maintain strong bones. Without vitamin D, it is estimated that the body absorbs only 10-15 per cent of calcium consumed in the diet. The absorption level increases to 30-50 per cent when vitamin D is present.
Vitamin D will be added to calcium-fortified Minute Maid Premium Home-Squeezed Style orange juice and calcium-fortified Minute Maid Premium Blends: Orange Tangerine; Orange Passion; Orange Strawberry Banana; and Orange Cranberry.
The company claims that the taste and appearance of the juices will remain the same. An 8oz serving provides 25 per cent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D and 35 percent of the recommended daily amount of calcium, the same amount of both nutrients as in a serving of Vitamin D-fortified milk.
The company said it will expand Vitamin D fortification to all multi-serve Minute Maid calcium-fortified orange juices in mid-June.
The Minute Maid Company is an operating unit of The Coca-Cola Company.