Fresh Up, a brand of Frucor, is the number three juice brand in New Zealand grocery stores, and the number two brand in measured convenience stores. 2012 marks the brand’s half-century anniversary, and even after 50 years it remains as popular as ever. Available in a range of delicious, apple-based variants, Fresh Up is recognised by the country as being a crisp, refreshing fruit juice whose popularity is forever on the rise.
The Fresh Up brand’s long and storied history began in 1962, when it was created. It originated with the company ENZA, formerly the New Zealand Apple & Pear Marketing Board. “They had a lot of excess apples that weren’t being sold,” recounts Joel Reichardt, Brand Manager for Fresh Up. “So they decided to start pressing them, and collecting the juice. That is basically how Fresh Up was created as a brand.”
In the beginning, Fresh Up was sold in 1.25 litre cans that required a can opener to access. At the time, however, there was not a lot of juice on the market so it became very popular, very quickly. Over a decade later, in 1978, Fresh Up’s manufacturing plant was moved to Auckland. “We had an innovation breakthrough with our packaging,” Joel says. “That was when the rip-tear can was launched. We were the first juice brand in New Zealand to implement that.”
That innovation turned Fresh Up into an “on the go” product – people no longer needed to take it home to open with a can opener. At the same time, John Walker, New Zealand Olympic Gold medal winner, became the face of Fresh Up and the infamous catch-cry “It’s gotta be good for you!” was created. At that point, the Fresh Up brand was all about quenching thirst.
Shortly thereafter, in 1981, Fresh Up innovated once again and introduced Tetra Brik packaging. “It was a new packaging format, and it was quite revolutionary for New Zealand,” Joel says. In the following years, parent company Frucor introduced Just Juice and tripled the size of the New Zealand juice market.
“From there, Fresh Up has continued to grow to where it is now, 50 years later,” says Joel. According to their brand trackers, for the last eight years Fresh Up has been regarded as the most refreshing juice on the market according to consumers. “Since 1978, the brand has been all about quenching thirsts,” Joel says. “Over thirty years later it’s still about that.”
In 1980, Frucor operated a factory that had 11 staff and one canning line. Today, they have 172 factory staff spread across 10 lines. “In terms of growth of the company, that gives you perspective of what it’s achieved in the last 30 years.”
Recently, in 2010, Fresh Up continued its history of innovation when they introduced a carbonated line of beverages called Fresh Up Big Fizz, which they put in a 500 millilitre can. “This has been tremendously successful,” Joel says. “And again, it’s very much about quenching a thirst, but it’s about providing a consumer with a carbonated option.”
Fresh and refreshing
Kevin Taffs, Marketing Manager, says that one of the ways in which Fresh Up is unique is the form it takes. “Having juice in a can is unique, especially outside of New Zealand,” he says. “Visitors may be put off by it, but New Zealanders love it. It’s all about the cold freshness in the hand, and it’s very much an iconic feel of Fresh Up moving forward.”
“It’s also got do with the product formulation,” he continues. “Juice, generally, is quite sweet and thick and consumers think real juice is drunk more in the morning. Fresh Up has an apple base, which gives it a light and refreshing texture. It’s easier to drink quickly, and the fact that we put it in format like cans which are cold and easy to hold – consumers always talk about the textile nature of the can – that really positions Fresh Up more as a refreshing beverage than a fruit juice.”
Fresh Up is well known throughout New Zealand for its refreshing quality, Joel explains. “When we talk to consumers, and ask ‘When you want to quench your thirst, what would you grab?’ Fresh Up is always top of mind for them,” he says. “That’s something that we’ve pushed for 50 years. That’s a unique thing about it. We’ve been around. We’ve been in people’s lives. We’re very credible, and we’ve stood for the same things for 50 years.”
“It’s a Kiwi icon,” Kevin adds. “Almost everyone has grown up with Fresh Up as part of their lives in some way, shape or form. It’s a really endearing brand and it’s embedded in the Kiwi culture, to a large extent.”
It is not only consumers that recognize Fresh Up for its quality and innovation. Like many of Frucor’s brands, Fresh Up has been the recipient of numerous industry awards, including many from the New Zealand Juice and Beverage Association (NZJBA). Fresh Up Big Fizz Crisp Apple was named Supreme Champion (Large producer) at the NZJBA awards 2011, for example.
“We value it a lot,” says Kevin of the industry recognition. “Those awards always go in the foyer when we win them, and we make a big announcement. We don’t innovate to win awards, but we see that as recognition of our ability to innovate well.”
At the moment, Joel says the brand’s biggest focus is on celebrating their birthday. “It’s great to celebrate 50 years with our consumers, but it’s also with our own people that we want to celebrate with,” he says.
In this vein, one idea they are looking at pursuing is the creation of a “historical vault” for the brand. “A lot of people and a lot of work have gone into Fresh Up over the last 50 years and we really want to celebrate that and hold on to our history. We want people to know that the brilliant company that Frucor is today, started with the Fresh Up brand.”
Beyond commemorating their anniversary, Joel says the plan is to consolidate the success they have had with the launch of Big Fizz. One of the challenges in the market is there is a lot of brands, so to differentiate themselves they have to focus on advertising and raising awareness. That’s what they will be doing with Fresh Up this year and into the future.
“We’re trying to create awareness around Fresh Up’s long standing position in New Zealand,” Joel says. “I think we’re doing a good job.”