CHERRiSH 100% Cherry Juice Wants to Appeal to Wider Health and Wellness Audience
As a marathon runner, founder and CEO of CHERRiSH Dan Haggart discovered fellow runners were drinking cherry juice as a post-workout drink because of its purported anti-inflammatory benefits and low glycemic index, which he claims also makes the drink a fit for diabetics.
After developing a 100% cherry juice blend of tart and sweet cherries that includes the skin and pulp, the company started targeting professional sports teams as well as NCAA college athletics, and also moved into athletic clubs.
“We went after the low-hanging fruit – the athletic channel,” Haggart told FoodNavigator-USA.
At the time, the product was in an eight-ounce can, but in order to get their foot into brick-and-mortar retail stores and compete in the premium refrigerated juice sections, the company made the switch to a 12-ounce PET bottle.
“We’re pushing hard into major retail,” Haggart said. “We’re trying to move away from just being an athletic drink to being a wellness drink.”
Today, you can find CHERRiSH in well over 2,000 retail stores throughout the US. The product comes in 12-oz.and 1 L bottles in four delicious flavors: Original Cherry, Cherry Blueberry, Cherry Pomegranate and Cherry Chocolate. The Original Cherry also comes in a 3-oz. concentrate that can be added to water, to a smoothie or enjoyed straight from the pouch. Canadians will also be able to purchase their 1 liter bottle in Original Cherry and Pomegranate flavors.
In addition to elite athletes and a generally active health-focused audience, Haggart added that mothers of young children have been an unexpected consumer of the brand because of its no-added sugar content and a smoother tart taste profile. Unlike some other 100% juice products, CHERRiSH is not cut with less expensive fruit juices such as apple or grape.
Each serving uses a blend of whole cherries including the Montmorency cherry, and the Bing cherry, found in the Pacific Northwest. The Montmorency cherry is extremely tart in taste and is not a cherry found in the produce section – it usually goes into pies or as an ingredient for cereals and baked goods, according to Haggart. However, in order to make the beverage more palatable, the company added the more commonly-consumed Bing cherry, which has a sweeter, lighter profile.
In doing so, the antioxidant levels – measured on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale – of the drink increased because the compounds inside the tart Montmorency cherry were “feeding” off of the antioxidants compounds of the Bing cherry, Haggart explained.
The anti-inflammatory and muscle recovery effects of tart cherry juice could serve as a suitable alternative to some anti-inflammatory drugs commonly used by athletes, some research suggests.
“For most runners, post-race treatment consists of RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and traditional NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs),”said Kerry Kuehl, M.D., a sports medicine physician and principal study investigator.
“But NSAIDS can have adverse effects – negative effects you may be able to avoid by using a natural, whole food alternative, like cherry juice, to reduce muscle inflammation before exercise.”
Along with their expansion into traditional retail stores to capture the general health conscious consumer, CHERRiSH will still remain strongly connected to the professional and elite athlete audience. Please check out our TEAM CHERRiSH section to read more about our fans.