Congratulations to the winners of the third annual
FREE CLOSURES FOR A YEAR contest!

Narrowing down finalists is always a tough call. These concepts rose to the top of
our expert panel rankings for uniqueness, marketability and purchase intent.

2021 WINNERS

PRO.J FUNCTIONAL ORANGE JUICE

PRO.J., a functional premium protein beverage combining high-quality, complete protein with orange juice, was conceived pre-pandemic in 2019, before the immune system benefits of oranges reinvigorated the market. Orange juice was the number-one selling fruit juice in the U.S. at the time, but it was a declining category that featured little innovation and too much sugar.

Dr. Nathan Feldman and Daniel Schapiro, founders of South Florida-based EB Performance, along with partner Steve Rittmanic, saw a white space opportunity to create a premium beverage hybrid that integrates the best qualities of traditional protein/meal replacement, bottled orange juice and natural refreshment drinks.

PRO.J. is lighter than a smoothie, has the same texture and consistency as premium orange juice, but contains 50 percent less sugar, no added sugars, and no pulp. With 17 grams of complete protein per serving — plus vitamin C, calcium, zinc and essential electrolytes and amino acids — it’s on-trend for what today’s consumers are searching for. It also provides a convenient, nutritious breakfast replacement for adults, and a healthier fruit juice option for both adults and children.

Not only does PRO.J. give consumers an orange juice with added functional benefits they can feel good about drinking, it also lets them support a mission. A percentage of all sales will be donated to HopeGel®, a grassroots not-for-profit that Daniel, Nathan and Steve started with the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation in 2012 to fight acute childhood malnutrition. HopeGel is a ready-to-use therapeutic food that supplies life-saving nutrients to starving people in Haiti and Central America.

PRO.J. plans to launch with both original and naturally caffeinated versions on-shelf in select Florida retailers in early 2022. The launch plan also includes direct sales on Amazon and on the company’s website at drinkproj.com. The shelf-stable product will be available in 16-ounce bottles that can ship and stock without refrigerating. Additional flavors and functional varieties are also in the works.

Datassential Insight: Research showed that PRO.J. is unique enough to really differentiate itself. Millennials and foodies gave it a high purchase intent score.

VUE VITAMIN TEA

In the summer of 2018, Mike Luehrsen, Gordie Gronkowski and Riley Didion found themselves wishing they had something healthy on hand to drink besides water. The three friends grew up during the sports drink era, which was an improvement on soda but still full of sugar. They decided to invent their own beverage, and their startup was born. Their goal was to create the healthiest, cleanest beverage in the marketplace, packaged containers that are best for the environment, and tied to a foundation that gives back to the community.

VUE Vitamin Teas are packed with antioxidants and combined with specific vitamins and minerals to boost mental clarity and overall health. They are plant-based, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO and contain only naturally occurring sugar and caffeine. The product is hot-fill processed to maintain ingredient integrity, and the VUE team was dead-set on using aluminum containers that can be both recycled and reused.

Silgan, the only company in North America to manufacture closures for those containers, will supply VUE’s signature, multi-color, confetti-print caps, which represent the different shapes, sizes and colors of their target market. VUE is for everyone who wants to be the best, healthiest version of themselves.

VUE is currently sold in packs of four, 16-oz. containers that come in two flavors —Mixed Berry Hibiscus and Tropical Green — at brick-and-mortar retailers in the Boston area and online at vuedrink.com. Additional flavors will launch later this year in the Miami area. To reinforce the fact that consumers can reuse VUE’s aluminum containers, the company has also developed VUE powder packets that are perfectly sized to refill them.

Datassential Insight: VUE was rated as a top performer for draw. It shows stronger purchase intent with men, millennials, families with kids, and foodies.

2020 WINNERS

Sidnee’s Homemade Lemonade

Sidnee Rushing started selling her homemade lemonade at her church’s annual bazaar in 2016, when she was only 5 years old. Now it’s sold at festivals and events in and around Atlanta and through a purveyor of locally sourced organic foods.

Sidnee’s Homemade Lemonade is made with organic fruits, alkaline water and no preservatives. Fruit-infused flavors include Original, Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry and Wild Cherry. It’s currently available in gallon, half gallon and 16-ounce containers.

Chef Sidnee gives back to her local community by donating a portion of her profits to purchase Toys for Tots each year. Another portion is allocated to her Path2College 529 Plan. For purchase information and more, visit sidneeslemonade.com.

Datassential Insight: Research showed strong purchase interest but moderate uniqueness. Sidnee’s Lemonade could look for ways to further differentiate their product — for example, by highlighting the brand’s charitable giving, which the majority of the respondents liked.

Simply Soupreme

This plant-based, sippable soup in a bottle is a healthy snack for consumers on the go. After graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Simply Soupreme CEO and founder, Jackie Greene, began preparing nutritional meals for people who wanted to eat healthier but couldn’t seem to find the time.

Simply Soupreme uses locally sourced ingredients that are gluten- and dairy-free, non-GMO and organic whenever possible. Soups are HPP-processed instead of pasteurized to extend shelf life and to maintain essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Flavors include Tomato Basil, Mushroom Thyme, Beet Thyme, Raw Cucumber, Carrot Ginger and Roasted Red Pepper.

Green suffered from hypoglycemia for years before finding relief with a plant-based diet. The company represents a shift away from highly processed canned soups and promotes the detoxifying benefits of the product. Her soups are ready to drink and designed to be enjoyed chilled. For more information and to order online, visit simplysoupreme.com.

Datassential Insight: The brand was perceived as exceptionally unique, but could benefit from more familiar ingredients for balance. Respondents said they would consume Simply Soupreme as a healthy option for all dayparts (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks).

2019 WINNERS

enterade®

Entrinsic Health Solutions developed this amino acid-based health drink to help manage GI dysfunction and the unique nutritional needs of people receiving cancer treatments. Dr. Sadasivan Vidyaasagar discovered the idea for the product when studying the effects of ionizing radiation on astronauts during long-duration space travel.

enterade provides select amino acids, sodium and potassium to rebuild and protect the GI tract and deliver total body hydration. The glucose-free formula is lightly sweetened with stevia leaf extract. Flavors come in Original Vanilla and Refreshing Orange.

The product is packaged in a stock PET bottle topped by a 38mm clear polypropylene Silgan stock closure selected specifically to withstand hot-fill processing temperatures up to 185 degrees. enterade is available without a prescription, but should be used under supervision of a your healthcare provider. For more information, visit enterade.com.

Datassential Insight: enterade scored very high on uniqueness. Respondents were most favorable to the product’s strengthening and health aspects for chemotherapy patients.

Origin Almond

This refreshing, cold-pressed juice swaps out the sugars and carbs associated with fruit juice and replaces them with protein and good fats that come from almonds. Origin Almond founder, Jake Delon, a minority business owner who struggled with childhood obesity, developed the idea to combat the threat that hidden sources of excess sugar pose to public health.

The line of ready-to-drink juices are vegan-, paleo-, keto- and diabetic-friendly and contain no dairy, grains, gluten, added sugar or soy. It comes in five different flavors designed to provide a variety of nutritionally functional benefits: Lemon Ginger Daily Detox, Turmeric & Ginger Golden Restore, Piña Colada Coconut Refresher, Matcha+ Super Greens and Hemp Mojito Calm Refresher.

Origin Almond Juices are packaged in HPP-compliant bottles capped by Silgan’s stock plastic 38mm DBJ enclosure in the brand’s distinct yellow color. The zero-waste company uses the entire almond seed to make the juices, harvests the inner shell for clean-burning bio fuel and the outer shell for livestock feed. Order online at originalmond.com.

Datassential Insight: Origin Almond’s SCORES report showed that consumers were intrigued by the concept but uncertain that it would taste good. In response, the company made changes to its packaging graphics to include tasty-looking visual food cues.