Sunsweet Says, “This Isn’t Your Father’s Prune Juice”


To put it bluntly, prune juice is a great laxative. Everyone knows it, and that reputation has always posed some branding challenges for Sunsweet Growers – one of the largest bottlers of prune juice. Now the California-based brand wants to capture the growing ranks of boomers who may be increasingly in need of the the product’s digestive properties.

Nevertheless, Sunsweet has been working hard on ways to draw younger American consumers to its plum and prune products. A few years ago it launched PlumSmart, a juice made from the plums that become prunes when dried; it is lighter than prune juice and possesses much “lighter” regulative properties. It’s selling at about a $20-million annual clip, according to Sunsweet.[more]

Sunsweet also has marketed individually wrapped prunes in canisters, called Sunsweet Ones, and sales of the three-year-old product are still rising at 20 percent a year.

So now might be the right time, Sunsweet’s brand stewards believe, to try to skew prune juice younger as well. “The timing is perfect” for a new marketing push behind prune juice, Stephanie Harralson, Sunsweet Juice product manager, told brandchannel, “because people are looking for natural solutions for their health, and prune juice is just prunes and water – so it’s a totally natural product that works.”

Sunsweet published a freestanding insert in newspapers nationwide last summer and “had a really good response from it,” Harralson said. And now the brand plans to contemporize the packaging of its prune juice in a way that plays to its “taste appeal,” she said.

Initial new targets: the leading edge of the baby boom. Sunsweet wants them to like prune juice – and admit it.