robinsons squash

Sales: £262.9m (-5.6%)

A tough year for Britain’s biggest squash brand, which has seen its SKU count reduced in the supers as the debate about how much sugar kids drinks contain has come to the fore.

“The impact of the ongoing sugar debate on the soft drinks market can be seen in the types of segments experiencing growth, with water-based categories thriving while other categories are showing slower growth,” says Britvic commercial director for at home Phil Sanders. In Robinsons’ case, the controversy around sugar content has contributed to a £15.5m decline, so it’s stepping up its efforts to reduce its use of the sweet stuff.

“Since 2012, following the delisting of regular Fruit Shoot and Robinsons squash, and reformulations to J2O and Juicy drench, we have removed 18 billion calories from the soft drinks market,” adds Sanders. “By 2020, the aim is that 60% of our new products will be lower sugar or have added nutritional benefits. We’re also reducing the average number of calories consumed per 250ml by 20%.”

The brand is also investing in ads. It celebrated its 80-year partnership with Wimbledon in 2015 with limited-edition versions of the Squash’d pocket squash format backed by TV, outdoor, print and social media activity. A nostalgic summer TV ad featuring two parents sitting in a garden watching their baby boy grow up tugged at the nation’s heart strings but wasn’t enough to deliver growth. With the strapline ‘They grow up fast’ the ad ran to the tune of ‘Give me just a little more time’ - which is exactly what Robinsons needs to return the brand to growth.