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Lack of scientific knowledge prevents a greater orange juice consumption in Europe

The European health professional almost does not indicate the consumption of natural juices to their patients, mainly due to the lack of knowledge about the benefits and composition of this kind of beverage. This is what points out a survey conducted by the Ipsos Institute between November and December 2017, with 2,099 health professionals – doctors and nutritionists – from 14 European countries, obtained exclusively by Agência Estado.

For example, the survey pointed out that despite 86% of the interviewed individuals often indicate the consumption of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet, only 36% indicate fruit juices. In Nordic countries, only 18% frequently advise patients to consume the beverage.

The survey was requested by the consortium of producers and bottlers who support the A (import fruit juice), set up in October 2015 to increase the beverage demand within the economic block. The National Association of Citric Juice Exporters (CitrusBR), which gathers the orange juice giants Cutrale, Citrosuco and Louis Dreyfus Company, participates in this group. Europe represents 60% of the global market for this Brazilian beverage.

With this, despite a general assessment, the released data prioritized the orange juice, which is the most consumed globally and the main focus of the campaign "Fruit Juice Matters". Data show that this kind of juice is mostly seen as a supplement than as an alternative to orange among the health professionals. Only 46% of the interviewed individuals answered that the100% orange juice – no mixture of water or other juices – can be an alternative to a fruit portion, and 67% regard the beverage as a healthy supplement to people who eat fruits and vegetables.

Among the younger people, below 35 years of age, only 30% answered that the 100% orange juice can be an option to the fruit, and 54% as a supplement, percentages these that rise to 49% and 71%, respectively, among health professionals above 50 years of age. “There is almost an aversion to the notion that the juice can replace the fruit. This a myth, and there are several scientific studies evidencing that the juice does not lose the fruit main characteristics", said Larissa Popp Abrahão,  CitrusBR's International Relations Director.

Only 18% of the specialists always recommend that the 100% orange juice be consumed. Only 11% among nutritionists adopt this posture, a demonstration that this kind of professional still relates orange to the patient's obesity. The survey data show that 70% of the interviewed regard that the 100% orange juice squeezed on the spot is better than that sold in packets. Only 30% of the interviewed individuals agreed that the 100% orange juice in packets is a natural product, and 37% fully agree that the 100% orange juice be orange juice only.

 

“The survey was important because it solidifies, in figures, the existing perception of the lack of understanding by the health professional as to the 100% juice, mainly with added sugar. There is a great campaign against sugary beverages, with sugar addition, and one has to show that there are others such as the orange juice where the sugar (fructose) is one of the intrinsic properties", explained Ibiapaba Netto, CitrusBr's CEO.

According to the executive the survey results are "one more step to a long path" traveled by the industry in order to first understand the European market and draw a strategy to increase consumption. “We managed  to enter the specialist's head to make an appropriate case", said he. “From our point of view, considering everything we have studied and all the researches showing the orange juice benefits, such image of the product makes no sense. The idea is to bring it to rationality, and only science can do this", completed Netto.

Larissa Popp Abrahão, from Citrus BR, also says that the choice of the Ipsos Institute, one of the largest in the world in the market intelligence area, and the results pointed out in the survey can be a way of pressing countries to change the rules adopted in the sale of orange juice. According to her, only in Germany, France and United Kingdom packets of 100% orange juice inform that there is no sugar added to it. “The other markets do not regard this as necessary because it is obvious, but the survey showed that it is not", said Larissa.

According to the executive, the survey will be conducted again every year with the same methodology so as to assess whether there has been a change in the perception by the European health professional as to the orange juice benefits. “We will also rely on a breakdown about each one of the 14 markets so for us to adopt specific strategies", concluded he.