Thursday, 10 April 2008

You old smoothie!

I had one of those "kick yourself" feelings a little while back when I was confronted by the growing range of "smoothies" on offer in the supermarket. You see, about five years ago, a friend and ex-colleague of mine, who was out in Australia at the time, had the idea to bring the "smoothie" idea over to Germany. I wrote back encouragingly but said you'd have to be careful about the price and maybe make sure the packaging was environmentally friendly.

Well, "True Fruits" beat my friend to it and, for the last two years , more and more of these "baby bottles for grown-ups", as the Stern puts it, have smoothed their way into the chiller cabinet. It started with the Innocent lookalikes, such as True Fruits, but the big brands (interestingly, from quite diverse categories) such as Schwartau, Chiquita, Knorr and Mövenpick have also been quick to leap on the bandwagon. And the discounters have their own versions, too: Lidl's presumably with a micro-camera for surreptitious consumer research into "how do you slurp yours?"

By all accounts, the market is growing healthily (it should: it has only been in existence for two years) but a sneaky feeling inside me wonders if I really should be kicking myself. Germany has no real chilled fruit juice culture like the UK or USA and when it comes down to it, these seductive little bottles are incredibly expensive. Leaving aside the niche of urban on-the-go young singles, I have the feeling that the bulk of pragmatic, thrifty, down-to-earth Germans will vote with their wallets and stick to munching fruit in its original form.

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