Litre bottles of Britvic's Robinsons Smooth Juice have been axed by four of the leading supermarkets just 12 months after launch as they failed to compete with own label.
Britvic is believed to have ploughed £6m into the brand since its June 2007 launch, including a £2m TV campaign and a £1m package for the launch of single-serve 250ml bottles in March. The brand was part of the biggest launch and marketing programme ever put behind Robinsons.
Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Waitrose are understood to have already axed the one-litre Smooth Juice range. Tesco, however, said it has "no plans to delist in the short term".
One buyer said the lines weren't selling and stores were being left with surplus stock. "We were having to write off stock as it was reaching its sell-by date. The sales didn't warrant the shelf space," he said.
However, the launch of the 250ml bottle three months ago gave an early indicator of Britvic's plan to refocus the brand with an impulse proposition, accepting it could not compete with the low prices of own label in Smooth Juice's original take-home market.
"We have identified a particularly strong opportunity for the Smooth Juice brand in impulse," said a Britvic spokeswoman. "This is where consumers are increasingly looking for healthy, on-the-go refreshment and following the launch of the Smooth Juice singles in a 250ml format, we will be focusing our effort and investment on building the brand's credentials in impulse."
Although Britvic said it would also be targeting impulse channels through the multiples, its current listings are limited to independents, as well as deals to supply Superdrug and WHSmith Travel.
"Our other new Robinsons Fruit Shoot 100% Juice offering has driven incremental growth in the category since its launch last year and we will continue to focus on driving growth in the kids' juice sector," added the spokeswoman.