The summer hasn’t delivered the hot weather many were hoping for, but a raft of exotic launches should help add some sunshine to your juice and smoothie sales.

The chilled juice category is worth an impressive £61.2m within impulse, up 5.6% annually, and as many as 19 million UK households buy chilled juice each year, says Pepsico, so getting your range right is vital. Exotic flavours might be big news this year, but before you start playing around with paw paws and prickly pears, it’s vital to ensure you have your basics intact.


That’s how much the chilled juice category is worth in impulse, according to PepsiCo

Orange juice has a whopping 46% share of the flavour scene in chilled juice, and market leader Tropicana is offering retailers a real opportunity to capitalise on its popularity with £1 pricemarked packs of 330ml original and smooth variants.

Tropicana is the undisputed number-one juice brand with a 55.8% share of the not-from-concentrate (NFC) category, but another big name is making waves. Innocent may have entered the convenience market only a year ago, but sales are promising, with take-home juice up 266%, and on-the-go juice up 392% in the convenience sector year on year, claims the company. “At a total market level, we have delivered incremental growth to the chilled juice category of 54%,” says Innocent Drinks media relations manager Clemmie Nettlefold.

And while Innocent may only be a minnow in the ocean of juices, in the smoothies market it is something of a big fish with a 65.8% share of the sector in symbols. “Smoothies are well placed to deliver against the government’s five-a-day guidelines, by providing two portions of fruit per 250ml,” says Nettlefold. “Although shoppers are cutting back on spending they still want to buy quality products.”

This certainly seems to be the case with smoothies, which are up 3.1% annually in convenience, according to Innocent.

Away from the chiller, ambient juices don’t quite have the glamour of their cool counterparts, but they still have a significant role to play. “Ambient juice household penetration has held firm,” says Princes convenience sector marketing director Graham Breed. “Even though shoppers may be visiting the fixture less often, they still see juice as an essential part of their shop.

Milking it

The flavoured milk market continues to grow in popularity, up 11.4% in value and 5.7% in volume year-on-year, claims Yazoo brand owner FrieslandCampina.

“Research has shown that over the past 12 months 72% of children and 56% of all adults have drunk a flavoured milk,” says Friesland Campina trade marketing manager Helen Cridge.

“Flavoured milks have exploded with an array of new entrants into the market (from 16 in 2010 to an estimated 30 for 2012), significantly improving the choice for consumers.”

This year’s £2m marketing campaign for Yazoo, including TV, outdoor and social media activity, aims to keep the brand top of mind among its

target audience of young adult males.

Meanwhile, competitor Frijj is battling hard for this lucrative market. The Dairy Crest brand has reached more than £50m in value sales and is expected to receive an added boost from recent TV activity, which kicked off last month.

The indulgent Frijj the Incredible range was launched last August and now accounts for 8.9% of the Frijj brand with a value of £4.5m. “Frijj the Incredible is also helping to drive incremental growth to the category through increased penetration to non-flavoured milk drink buyers,” claims Dairy Crest Dairies director of brands Nathan King.

“Its popularity is partly down to the fact that ambient provides an affordable way to buy juice and has the convenience of a long shelf life, which appeals to families and people who prefer to take advantage of multi-pack offers.”

The firm is investing in a campaign to highlight the benefits of the category and tackle misconceptions regarding product quality. “Consumers don’t always understand that the quality of ambient juices matches chilled, and that they only differ on price. We’ve found that by investing in educating consumers about our products we can encourage them into new areas of the market and, backed up by our brand investment, can help introduce new consumption occasions for juice.”

Regardless of whether they live on the shelf or in the chiller, juices and smoothies share certain trends. Despite the lack of summer sun, more and more consumers are looking for a taste of the exotic. “Exotic juice and juice drinks are worth £191.6m and are in 5.2% growth,” claims Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) cross-franchise brands senior manager Bruce Scott. “Mango is the number one flavour choice of the exotic variants, growing at 17.4% and the third most popular flavour variant behind apple and orange.”

The firm recently met this demand with the introduction of a mango variant to its Capri-Sun brand.

“Exotic flavours are proving to be popular this summer,” agrees Gerber Juice Company commercial director Marnie Millard. The company’s Sunpride brand has four exotic blends, including apple & lychee and grape, raspberry & guava. It has also introduced a tropical variant to the Del Monte range, which Millard claims is bringing consumers back to the brand.

Britvic is meeting consumers’ desire for a taste of the tropics, too. Last year, fans of J20 were asked to submit new flavour suggestions as part of the brand’s Mix Up A Mouthful promotion, and winning flavour Papaya Punch was launched earlier this year as a limited edition.

With three major exotic juice drink brands in its portfolio, AG Barr is certainly benefiting from the trend. Rubicon, the UK’s number-one exotic juice drink brand, is currently growing at 37%, while the Caribbean-style drinks brand KA is growing at 51% and blended juice drink brand Sun Exotic at 9%.

“The fast-growing ethnic population is of increasing importance to retailers,” says AG Barr head of marketing Adrian Troy. “But as well as being popular with the ethnic consumer market, these authentic-tasting brands are extending into the 
mainstream consumer market, where consumers are seeking something a little bit different and more interesting when it comes 
to soft drinks.”

retailer’s view

Rav Garcha

“Our fruit juice and smoothies sales are steady. I think people buy into them as a healthy option to carbonated drinks. We sell Tropicana in original, orange & mango, tropical and multivitamin variants. We also stock Innocent orange juice, plus their strawberries & bananas, and pomegranates, blueberries & acai smoothies.

“As well as the more common flavours, we’ve introduced a number of new exotic variants in the past year, including Levi Roots’ Caribbean crush and mango & pineapple juices, and J2O’s papaya punch.

“We’ve seen a massive increase in juice sales since moving them into the sandwich chiller about a month ago. We had a spare shelf above the sandwiches and initially we put water there. It flew out the door, so we decided to experiment by putting juices and smoothies there instead as they would offer us better margins. Since doing so we’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in sales.”

Rav Garcha, Nisa Local, West Midlands

AG Barr has just added a new citrus twist flavour to its Sun Exotic brand. “Citrus flavours are particularly popular with all consumer groups including Asian, Afro-Caribbean and white British mainstream,” says Troy. The variant is made from five citrus fruits, including Kinnow mandarin, and Calamansi lime, and will be available in single-serve 288ml and multi-serve 1ltr cartons.

Never one to miss out on a major trend, Vimto Soft Drinks has recently given the impulse channel a tropical taste with the Levi Roots fruit juice drink range, which includes 500ml and 2ltr bottles, and 1ltr cartons. “Levi Roots orange & pomegranate and Levi Roots orange, papaya & lime are in 1ltr cartons and provide a great option for retailers to stock juice drinks that meet the growing demand for more exotic fruit flavours,” says Vimto Soft Drinks head of marketing Neil Gibson. “The cartons are available in packs of six to sell as singles, which also helps retailers with stocking, as the outer fits neatly onto an ambient shelf to ensure less space is taken up in the stockroom.”

Princes’ exotic juice drinks range is also seeing good growth, up 23% on last year. “Consumers are increasingly buying into flavours such as pomegranate, mango and cranberry, which are driving innovation within the category,” says Princes’ Breed.

In addition to demand for exotic flavours, another mega trend is health. “While consumers focused primarily on the basics during the recession, making price their top priority, we are now seeing a trend for healthier options emerge,” says Ribena group brand manager Michael Walford. The company is tapping into this need with new Ribena Plus. Designed to target young women and mums, the drinks offer functional benefits such as added vitamins to support immunity and added calcium for healthy bones.

Juicy details

AG Barr has these tips for keeping your juices looking fresh:

● Adapt your range to the customer profile rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach

● Take note of the growing importance of ethnic drinks and merchandise the fixture to the best possible effect, ensuring that popular brands are well stocked

● 75% of purchases are made at fixture, so retailers should use clear brand blocking, pos material and highlight promotional offers in high footfall areas to drive incremental sales

● Pricemarked packs are growing in importance as they clearly indicate value for shoppers. Some 70% of overall soft drinks growth has been driven by pricemarked packs. Research has shown that 40% of shoppers would be more likely to buy a product on impulse if it is pricemarked, while 98% would buy a soft drink in a pricemarked pack from a c-store.

“Initial results are very encouraging with incremental sales for the category being generated by consumers adding the products to their repertoire,” says Walford. “There is a second burst of TV planned for later in the year, as well as ongoing press advertising support and consumer sampling throughout the summer to ensure as many families as possible get to try all the new flavours.”

And while Ribena has been busy adding ingredients, Ocean Spray is concentrating on removing unwanted ones. “Adult consumers continue to demand drinks without artificial colours or preservatives,” says CCE’s Scott. “Products made from 100% juice have seen greater demand in recent years as consumers seek healthier products for themselves and their families, and four in 10 new products contain no additives or preservatives. Ocean Spray’s 100% Juice meets several consumer requirements including ‘100% juice’, ‘one of your five a day’ and ‘suitable for the family’.”

ones to watch…

Handy timing

CCE’s sparkling fruit juice Appletiser is being supported by a £3m investment aimed at raising brand awareness among those aged between 25 and 50. The campaign supports the recent launch of the 350ml handbag sized and 1.25ltr take-home PET packs of Appletiser and Grapetiser.

tel: 0845 722 7222

Berry good

Weight Watchers has entered the juices market with Italian red grape & raspberry and Brazilian orange, mango & water-melon variants, to meet demand for low-calorie, premium adult drinks. The drinks will be available in 330ml PET (rrp £1) and 500ml bottles (rrp £1.15).

tel: 01925 220122

Shake it up

Frijj is keepings its 16-34 target audience entertained this summer with a Thorpe Park on-pack promotion. Until September 30, all core Frijj bottle sleeves enable two-for-one entry to the park. Packs also give consumers chances to win prizes including VIP days out for four people.

tel: 08457 811 118

Strawberry yields

AG Barr has added a strawberry variant to its KA stills range. The brand is now worth £26m, having added more than £7m incremental sales through the launch of the still range last year. A 288ml carton is pricemarked at 49p, 500ml PETs carry an 89p flash, and a 1ltr carton has a £1.19 pricemark.

tel: 01204 66429732

Canned laughter

Heinz is injecting some fun into the youth drinks market with lightly sparkling Lol. The drink is a blend of 75% fruit juice with 25% carbonated water. The 250ml cans contain one five-a-day fruit portion and are available in o ranj, razz bri, and b currant variants.

rrp: 99p

tel: 0800 5285757

Another 100% guarantee targeting parental gatekeepers comes from Purity Soft Drinks. The company’s new Juice Burst pouch comprises 100% juice and contains a five-a-day portion, making it an appealing option for health-conscious parents.

“We have established that consumption of pouches is occasion-driven,” says sales director Richard Perkins. “Where the pouch has been introduced alongside the PET, the PET sales continue to grow, and pouch sales are entirely incremental.”

Indeed, understanding the consumption occasions that different products and pack sizes fulfil is key to succeeding in juices and smoothies, and an area that PepsiCo is only too familiar with. “Some 57% of orange juice is consumed in the morning,” says PepsiCo UK&I wholesale director Kieran South. The company’s Brighter Mornings campaign, which launched earlier this year, promoted juice as a product that could help consumers ‘become alive’ in the mornings.

Nettlefold concurs that juice is largely regarded as a morning stimulant. “The main consumption occasion for juice is in the morning when consumers are looking for an energy boost - something to kick-start their day,” she says. “Juice blends and smoothies also have a consumption peak in the morning, but are likely to be consumed at lunch or mid-afternoon as well. Smoothies, in particular, see a spike at about 4-6pm as consumers drink a smoothie as a healthy snack.

“Retailers can take advantage of this by ensuring they have good availability of juices and smoothies in the morning, and siting on-the-go bottles near other food-to-go products such as sandwiches and cereal pots so that shoppers can consider juice as part of their repertoire,” she advises.

By ensuring that your juices and smoothies fixture is well-merchandised and incorporates all the major trends, you can maximise sales and take advantage of demand for healthier options. And although consumers certainly aren’t over their orange crush, making room for a few more adventurous flavours could be well worth your while.