The chain said beetroot juice sales had jumped 82 per cent in the past 12 months, with bunched and prepared beetroot sales also increasing 15 and 22 per cent respectively, as the purple vegetable has become a mini-celebrity in hip restaurants in London and elsewhere.
Waitrose has been selling beetroot since 2006 but it is only since a 2008 study indicating its ability reduce blood pressure and another highlighting endurance benefits conducted by University of Exeter researchers last year, that sales began to rise rapidly.
The rise in public awareness of superfruits and their links to antioxidant benefits have also helped the category grow.
Waitrose sells three types of beetroot juice mixed with apple juice ranging from 12 to 90 per cent beetroot purity.
UK firm James White Drinks has been selling a juice called Beet It (formerly Heartbeet) in Sainsbury, Waitrose, Morrisons and Holland & Barrett stores, and recently launched a ‘one-shot’ 70ml version.
“Holland & Barrett is going to trial our new 70ml version, which we see as a kind of healthy alternative to Red Bull shots and those types of drinks,” James White Drinks managing director Lawrence Mallinson, MD, told our sister publication, FoodManufacture.co.uk. recently.
The company in 2009 changed the name of the product from Heartbeet to Beet it because of concerns the former product name would be construed as a health claim under new European Union rules.
Beetroot is high in nitrates, which can act as anti-blood clotting agents. The University of Exeter study found consuming beetroot juice could double nitrate levels in the blood which reduced the amount of oxygen needed by muscles and therefore improved stamina.
Spinach is another vegetable high in nitrates but its juice has not reached market in a commercially viable form mainly due to palatability issues.