Tropicana launches line of fruit-and-vegetable drinks for kids

PepsiCo's Tropicana brand is introducing a new way for moms to sneak veggies into their kids' diets: Farmstand, a fruit-and-vegetable drink to hit the refrigerated section of supermarkets in January.

According to the Associated Press, shelf-stable juices like V-Fusion don't have to be kept chilled, because they are exposed to higher temperatures in the pasteurization process. But Tropicana sees the fact that their new beverage is chilled as beneficial to the brand. "Chilled is very important — it signals high quality; it signals premium; it signals freshness," said Memo Maguivar, Tropicana's chief marketing officer.

Perhaps the most significant difference between Farmstand and other fruit-and-veggie drinks, however, is the consistency and the way it's being marketed. While such juices as Naked and Bolthouse Farms tend to have a denser consistency, Farmstand is thinner in a way that's more comparable to orange juice.

Additionally, the company is playing down the vegetables in the drink after consumer surveys indicated that moms don't want their kids catching them in the act of sneaking vegetables into their diets, according to Jeff Miller, senior marketing manager for Tropicana. Thus, the names of the first three flavors — strawberry banana, peach mango and pomegranate blueberry — tout the fruits in the drink, and the packaging displays images of fruit while the vegetables are partly concealed behind the logo.

Farmstand juice will contain approximately the same amount of calories as regular orange juice — with about 120 calories and 28 g of sugar in an 8-oz. serving — and uses fruit to cover the taste of beets, sweet potatoes, and yellow and orange carrots.

The new Tropicana drinks will be sold in Walmart later this month before expanding to supermarkets and other retailers in January.