The major brand owners are pumping investment into juices to squeeze more growth from the category. Robin Mannering looks at their plans

Whereas some categories have suffered under the pressure from the economic downturn and the healthy eating crusaders, suppliers in the juices market have been working hard and are starting to make the squeeze work to their advantage.

Last year saw an upturn in the juices and smoothies sector following a lacklustre 2009, mainly thanks to consumers’ thirst for value and demand for healthy products, which they see met by ambient juice drinks and squashes.

retailer’s view

“The category is doing alright. We haven’t seen any big differences in sales, but there has been a drop off in smoothies and top-of-the-range juices as shoppers look to cut back on spending. In the Stalham store, Tropicana goes in bursts, depending on who’s on holiday! In the Norwich shop it’s students who buy Tropicana, so we have to be careful with stock levels when they’re not around. 

“Overall, we’re selling more own label and cheaper long-life juices rather than fresh Princes is holding its own. Ribena has never done well with us, but I know other retailers sell gallons of the stuff!”
Nigel Dowdney, Earlham Shopper, Norfolk

Ambient juice drinks in take-home increased in volume by 5% in 2010, with growth also returning in the convenience channel up 1% to £157m (Nielsen ScanTrack Convenience Channel April 16, 2011). Pure juice and smoothies enjoyed a buoyant year in the take-home market in 2010, with growth up 9% to £139m. But impulse missed out on that growth as sales saw single-digit declines, with the exception of some major brands.

Ribena achieved 11% growth last year and remains the number one UK juice drink brand, as consumers honed in on its perceived value and vitamin C-based health benefits. Other leading lights were Capri Sun, Robinsons Fruit Shoot, Juicy Drench and Rubicon.

Multi-serve formats of juice drinks (500ml+) drove growth within the take home sector, according to the Britvic Soft Drinks Report 2011. In fact, four of the top six ambient juice products are in a 500ml format: Ribena Blackcurrant; Oasis Summer Fruits; Oasis Citrus Punch; and Ribena Strawberry (Nielsen Scantrack Impulse April 16, 2011). The remaining two stars of the top six are Ribena Blackcurrant 288ml and Capri Sun Orange 330ml.

Such is the dominance of the top six that they make up over half the sales in juice drinks and from only two brands, Ribena and Oasis so retailers should ensure these are always available, GSK advises.

Yet other brands are making inroads, such as Juice Burst, sales of which grew by more than 40% in the year to March 2011. Available in 500ml PET, Juice Burst comes in 13 variants and is available only in independents.

Big spenders

The big players aren’t sitting back, despite their successes, and there is no let up in their investment as they attempt to further refresh the category.

Ribena is ready to take on any new kids on the block and is highlighting the nutritional value of the brand in a TV campaign lasting throughout the year. The iconic Ribena Berry characters will emphasise the importance of domestically sourced food and drink, and invite viewers to delve in to the world of the Ribena Berries.

Britvic ran a Wimbledon-inspired on-pack promotion with Robinsons. The activity coincided with the tournament but the campaign aimed to help grow squash sales for retailers over the entire summer. The tennis tournament is an important marketing tool for Robinsons, which grew 5% in value last year (AC Nielsen), partly due to the 75th anniversary of its association with Wimbledon.

ones to watch

Innocent pleasures Innocent has launched a range of not-from-concentrate juices in a ‘carafette’ pack design. The 330ml carafes each contain the juice from four hand-picked oranges. The company says the iconic design will ensure shelf stand out. 
rrp: £1.09 , tel: 020 8883 44206 

Pick of the crops 
Ocean Spray is back on TV with a series of three ads capturing the brand’s grower heritage and fruit expertise. The latest instalment features growers Justin and Henry in New England, enjoying their favourite Ocean Spray cranberry and blueberry juice drinks. tel: 08457 227 222 

Add some fizz 
GSK shook up the category with Ribena Sparkling earlier in the year. The lightly sparkling drink comes in a 500ml bottle in two flavours: blackcurrant and raspberry. The raspberry npd generated sales of £2m in its first year (Nielsen). 
rrp: 99p, tel: 08702 415132

Days of sunshine Tropicana’s Daily Ray of Sunshine campaign will appear on Channel 4, UKTV and Guardian online every day of the year after agreeing a partnership with the media groups.The campaign aims to brighten consumers’ mornings and establish Tropicana as part of their daily ritual. tel: 0800 980 8253

Britvic’s on-pack promotion for Juicy Drench has also returned for July and August, offering consumers the chance to win £250 every hour.

Princes is stepping up investment in its ambient juice range with a new line-up of exotic flavours including pomegranate, passionfruit, mango, pineapple & coconut, cherry and blueberry.

Princes Soft Drinks marketing director Joanna Watling is a believer in the benefits of innovation in the current market. “We’ve found that by investing in targeted new product development we can encourage consumers into new areas of the market,” she says.

The extended range will be accompanied by redesigned packaging in the same style as Princes’ existing range of ambient pure juices, with the aim of creating greater synergy between the pure juice and juice drinks category. It will be supported by PR, online activity and ongoing above-the-line advertising.

Kids’ stuff

Princes hopes to drive growth through new product development in the breakfast and lunchbox market. It will be targeting the “under-invested” children’s juice drinks sector with a new range of Jucee-branded pure juices in 200ml cartons which Watling says are perfect for lunchboxes.

“Many parents allow their children to drink only water or fruit juice, but despite this mini-sized juices perfect for lunchboxes or days out have been rather overlooked,” she adds. “We spotted a gap in the market for a range of juices that have the perceived credentials to appeal to parents, combined with vibrant and eye-catching packaging that will appeal to children.”

Britvic is also targeting the children’s juice market by launching its longest-ever Robinsons Fruit Shoot promotion, ‘Champion of the Playground’. The on-pack promotion, which began in June and will run for four months, is an online skills league for children that encourages them to learn and practice new skills. The campaign enables children to get involved in a virtual playground by competing with their friends both on and offline to claim their crown and become Champion of the Playground.

Robinsons brand controller Debbie Eddy says: “Kids tells us that Robinsons Fruit Shoot is the coolest kids’ brand about, and the new promotion will help to make it even more popular with children, growing sales of the range even further for retailers.”

Purity Soft Drinks also launched a range of Juice Burst pouches for the children’s lunchbox market. It believes the versatility of the screw-top pack combined with the 250ml size will appeal to the kids’ market, while the pack graphics are universally attractive to youngsters and adults alike, it says.

Chilled juice

Although the chilled juice category in grocery is worth more than £1bn, having seen growth of 8.3% in the year to April (Nielsen), the convenience sector is still catching up with the success (sales of pure juice dropped by 4% in impulse in 2010, according to the Britvic Soft Drinks report).

However, the category is worth a healthy £44m (Nielsen) and the leading brand, Tropicana, saw 3.4% year-on-year growth to April. Peter Charles, Tropicana marketing manager at PepsiCo, is optimistic about the sub-category. “It’s moving forward very strongly, which is testament to brands investing in products. People rely on quality brands,” he says.

top tips

Stocking the best-sellers. These will attract customers to the chiller 

Use appealing and clear signage and pos material to make it easy for shoppers to find what they need in a hurry 

Stock multiple facings of best-sellers to ensure availability during key selling periods 

Place crisps and snacks near juices and try offering meals deals to drive linked purchases. 

Source: Tropicana

Tropicana has been busy innovating recently, having expanded its Orange Creations range to include orange & pineapple and orange & raspberry. More recently, it launched the category’s first range of still lemonades to be made from 100% natural fruit juice, Tropicana Pure Premium Lemonades, which come in lemonade and pink lemonade flavours. It is available in a 900ml take- home format and a 300ml single-serve portion, suitable for the impulse channel and on-the-go refreshment.

Elsewhere, Innocent has launched a 330ml ‘carafette’ format for the on-the-go market, which it describes as a breakthrough pack design aimed at driving growth in the not-from-concentrate (NFC) juice category. Marketing director Thomas Delabriere says: “We believe there is a real opportunity for incremental growth in the NFC category, which has been demonstrated by the huge success of our juice so far.”

PepsiCo’s leading apple juice brand Copella is campaigning to reinforce its quintessential British heritage. The brand has teamed up with conservationist Dr David Bellamy and The National Trust to raises awareness of the plight of English apples. The Plant & Protect campaign encourages consumers to pledge their support by signing up via Copella’s website, where they can also buy an apple tree to plant.