In spite of a host of new product initiatives, including organics, exotic fruits, single-serve portions and innovative kids’ packaging, the US market for packaged fruit, fruit juices, and fruit confectioneries was flat in 2005 at US$20.8bn, according to figures published by market researcher Packaged Facts.

Moreover, Packaged Facts projects that the lacklustre performance of the sector will continue well into 2010 with the market remaining flat at $20.6bn. While fruit products may convey a sense of health and wellness, the high content of sugar in many has held them back especially during the low-carb craze and even after that trend ebbed, according to the Packaged Facts’ report Fruit Products in the US.

“Items, such as fresh fruit smoothies, cherry juice, and other health-infused products, have clearly won favour with consumers and are moving product developers in the right direction,” said Packaged Facts publisher Don Montuori. “Yet consumers have been very slow to respond to even the most exciting promotional and health campaigns, and changing their eating habits to include more fruit products will continue to be an uphill battle.”

Although packaged fruit consumption, including canned, dried and frozen fruits, actually increased by 5% from 2004 to 2005, this could not offset lower sales in other sectors. Over the same period, fruit juices declined by almost 1%, while jams, fruit bars, fruit rolls, and other fruit confectioneries fell by 3%.