Negative consumer perceptions have kept concentrates from becoming as popular as their ready-made counterparts. But concentrates haven't always been the inferior alternative. In many cases, they used to offer the best option. Those who grew up in the 1950's, '60s, or '70s will remember frozen concentrated orange juice—a convenient alternative to squeezing fresh oranges. Here are some additional products designed to be watered down.
Sold expensively in sheets throughout the early 19th century, gelatin expanded its reach and popularity following the invention of a cheaper, safer, and more convenient powdered form in 1845. Soon this powdered gelatin became the Jell-O we know today. Its concentrated form led the rise of “Jell-O Molds” — allowing consumers to add in extras themselves.
Minute Maid Concentrated OJ
Frozen concentrated orange juice was invented towards the end of World War II and for four decades was the best-selling orange juice on the market.
Prell Concentrate Shampoo
Prell Concentrate Shampoo, introduced by P&G in 1947, gained an iconic place in popular culture with the tagline, “Just a little makes great lather!” It rose to become one of the top two best-selling shampoos in the United States by 1977. Ultimark Products still manufactures Prell Concentrate today.
Betty Crocker Cake Mix
When the company first introduced cake mixes in 1948, they required only the addition of water. Through the early 1950’s General Mills was confused by the lack of consumer interest. Market research revealed the problem: It was too easy. Only adding water took away the personal feeling of pride in having baked a cake. They reformulated the mix and asked bakers to “add the eggs yourself.” The result helped the brand gain popularity and made housewives feel connected
to the food they were making.
Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
In 1954, Steve and Gayle Henson opened Hidden Valley Ranch, a dude ranch near Santa Barbara, California. They served guests a dressing that Steve had developed in Alaska. The dressing was popular, and they began selling bottles that guests could take home, and later opened a factory to sell packets of ranch seasoning that had to be mixed with mayonnaise and buttermilk (packets that are still available to this day). In 1972, the brand was bought by Clorox for $8 million.
This fruit-flavored breakfast drink has been on supermarket shelves in the U.S. since 1959. In Brazil, consumers began purchasing the generic juice mix instead and passing it off as Tang, so Kraft recently reformulated the drink, adding foam and real fruit pulp.
Quaker Instant Oatmeal
Launched in 1966, Quaker Instant Oatmeal (<a href="http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/snapshot/snapshot.asp?ticker=PEP:US">PEP</a>) offers pre-cooked food, so all consumers need to do is add water, though many add items to personalize it.
Dr. Haushka's Cleansing Clay Mask
Since the 1970s, this popular clay mask has offered a powder formulation of finely ground Loess clay, extracts of nasturtium, and witch hazel. Mixing a teaspoon of water to an equal amount of the powder makes one application of fresh clay mask.
Listerine PocketPaks, which Pfizer (<a href="http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/snapshot/snapshot.asp?ticker=PFE:US">PFE</a>) launched in 2001, created a new category in mouthwash: film strips that rely on the water in your mouth to dissolve.
One of the first companies to have marketed concentrated laundry detergents, Unilever (<a href="http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/snapshot/snapshot.asp?ticker=UN:US">UN</a>) launched All Small & Mighty in 2006. It's three times concentrated, whereas most concentrated laundry detergents are merely two times concentrated.
Starbucks VIA Ready Brew
Launched in 2009, the gourmet instant coffee became an instant hit, posting sales of $180 million in Starbucks (SBUX) retail and consumer packaged-goods channels.
Replenish, which did a soft launch of its multisurface cleaner in 2010, approaches concentrates from a fresh perspective by incorporating the refill system as part of the bottle design.
Also in 2010, Planet People launched iQ clean, a spray cleaner that comes in all-purpose, bathroom, glass, and floor varieties. Cartridge refills allow users to mix cleaner without the mess.
Launched in July 2011, Windex's "Mini" is a concentrated refill pouch that uses 90 percent less plastic packaging than a 26-ounce bottle involves.
Suave's Professionals Dry Shampoo
Though not officially a concentrate, dry shampoo is a good example of rethinking the purpose of concentrate: It saves both time and water. This one launched in January.
Method's Refill Pouches
Earlier this year, the eco-cleaning products company launched concentrated refill pouches for laundry detergent and dish soap. Method plans to roll out refills for additional cleaners next year.