Ocean Spray taps into proanthocyanidin (PAC) power in its new cranberry extract water, but will it lead to more informed consumers?
If you’ve listened to the radio recently or glimpsed a certain bright red billboard, you may be aware of the new PACt cranberry extract water from Ocean Spray (Lakeville-Middleboro, MA), launched in October as a functional alternative to standard bottled water. Without doing their own research, consumers might learn that proanthocyanidins (PACs) “cleanse and purify” from the marketing campaign, but not much else. And this is, according to Ocean Spray, a very purposeful approach.
Even if the term PAC is featured prominently in the product’s name and marketing materials, the actual specifics of the science behind PAC action are noticeably absent.
“Researchers believe that unique cranberry PACs are thought to prevent certain harmful bacteria from sticking and allow them to be naturally flushed from the body,” says Kelly Reilly, director, global innovation, Ocean Spray. By all appearances, that is as specific as Ocean Spray is willing to get at this point.
Other cranberry suppliers, such as Fruit d’Or Nutraceuticals (Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, QC, Canada) and Proprietary Nutritionals Inc. (Kearny, NJ), frequently say in marketing materials that cranberry PACs have shown benefits preventing E. coli bacteria from adhering to the sides of the urinary tract or bladder, which may result in fewer urinary tract infections (UTIs). However, Ocean Spray has clearly avoided any mention of UTIs or other specifics in its marketing campaign.
Reilly says the big marketing appeal for consumers is that PACt water offers a flavorful, low-calorie way to hydrate as well as “cleanse and purify the body.” In an effort to avoid confusing consumers, Reilly says Ocean Spray has avoided promoting a more complicated message.
“We have kept the explanations of how PACs function in simple terms due to the complex, scientific explanation behind it,” says Reilly. “Consumers themselves have told us that cranberries ‘cleanse and purify,’ which is how we determined what consumer-friendly language to best explain the power of PACs.”
Available in four flavors, every 16-oz bottle of PACt contains 80 mg of PACs, or “the power of 50 cranberries,” according to Reilly. She added that “Ocean Spray has touted the healthy benefits of PACs for years, but Ocean Spray PACt cranberry extract water is the first product that Ocean Spray has marketed as containing PACt cranberry extract.”
There’s lots of promise for PACt, Ocean Spray believes, and for PACs in the mainstream in general. Although PACs have risen to fame among manufacturers in recent years as a powerful cranberry compound that may provide relief from UTIs, this may be the first time mainstream consumers are introduced to the term.
“Ocean Spray believes that consumers will tune into PACs more and more as they become increasingly informed about the cranberry’s powerful health benefits, including the ability to cleanse and purify the body,” says Reilly.
If this is PAC’s most visible moment yet, will consumers begin to place stock in the term, or will it just be the latest trendy buzzword?
Nutritional Outlook magazine
Photo courtesy of Ocean Spray