Don’t Let Smoothie Drinkers Slip Through the Straws

BY Courtney Huckabay
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In-​home smoothie preparation is flat as more people are having these beverages made for them – the servings of smoothies ordered at foodservice outlets are up 11 percent, according to NPD’s ongoing food consumption research. Smoothie-​driven blending systems are facing possible burnout, NPD reports.

Blending systems were the “it” appliance in recent years  as consumers blended, mixed, and chopped a variety of concoctions, like smoothies and juices, but these gadget stars have begun to lose their luster. Dollar sales of blender/​mixer/​chopper systems changed their trajectory in the year ending May 2016 with ten percent declines in dollar sales, driven in part by 6 percent fewer of these items being purchased at retail, according to information from The NPD Group.

Remind consumers how much the love their juicers through broadcast and cable advertising! AudienceSCAN found 52.4% of Smoothie/​Fruit Juice Drinkers think TV has the most up-​to-​date information important to them.

Blender/​mixer/​chopper systems, blenders, food processors, and juice extractors have all been promoting smoothie preparation, and the short term win that resulted may accidentally be creating a bigger loss as consumer engagement with smoothies evolves. While market saturation and small declines in retail distribution are possible contributors to the drop in sales, the potential of being a fading fad is a concern worth exam. The good news is that healthy living is still important in America, and having smoothies will likely continue to be an important part of a healthy diet. But, smoothies are not the only healthy solution.

Retailers selling smoothie devices should focus on the healthy aspects of drinking smoothies in their ads to avoid dwindling sales. AudienceSCAN data showed ads/​coupons in mailboxes prove effective in boosting traffic. 41% of Smoothie/​Fruit Juice Drinkers took action after receiving them in the past month.

Blending systems may be feeling a burnout effect as consumers begin to look for more variety in their dietary routines, following a period of submerging themselves in the smoothie trend,” said Joe Derochowski, executive director and home industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Brands need to re-​position themselves, emphasizing their multi-​functionality, expanding the product’s audience to those interested in preparing more than just smoothies, and figure out creative new ways to engage in new applications and environments.”

Definitely take advantage of consumers' curiosity. They'll be searching for new recipes and new ways to use their blenders, so get on their search radar. AudienceSCAN reported 35% of smoothie drinkers took action based on sponsored search results (like on Google, Yahoo or Bing) in the past month.

Sales of blender/​mixer/​chopper systems have declined among some of their largest and most important audiences. Millennials and Boomers aren’t purchasing these products, or spending on them, at the same rate they were a year ago. Also, planned purchases, which represent two-​thirds of category dollars, are down double digits. The majority of blender/​mixer/​chopper sales come from first-​time purchases, which, along with upgrade purchases, are declining. Instead, replacements for old or broken products are now the growing segments.

Focus on replacements, upgrades and parts in emailed ads or newsletters, because AudienceSCAN found 57% of fruit juice drinkers took action after getting them in the past year.

"Flexibility, innovation, and interaction are the keys to bringing blender/​mixer/​chopper sales back on the upswing,” added Derochowski. “Manufacturers need to find new ways to get consumers engaged with their products by addressing competing consumer needs and demonstrating the ways these products can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.”

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.