Asda has delisted ailing soft drink Sunny D, claiming the brand’s sales have fallen by 50% in the past two years.
“Our analysis and customer feedback shows Sunny D is in long-term decline, with half the number of consumers buying it than was the case two years ago,” said a spokesman.
“Four years ago it was huge, but people want healthier alternatives - they don’t perceive Sunny D that way.”
Tesco is still listing Sunny D.
Rob Spencer, marketing director for Gerber Foods Soft Drinks, which bought the UK distribution rights for Sunny D in February 2005, said Asda’s decision was “very strange”.
“We believe Asda has the right customer profile and want to develop the business,” he added. “In Asda, two thirds of our sales come from no added sugar versions, which account for nine of the 15 SKUs and are up by 1% year-on-year. The key kids’ lines - the 200ml single-serve packs - are up 40%.”
Launched in 1998, Sunny D was one of the fastest-growing new products of the decade until negative media coverage alienated many consumers.
Spencer said: “We inherited a massive negative PR heritage Even if you look only at the original variants, they have 25% less sugar than rival products and a higher fruit juice content, but whenever there’s a concern about health and soft drinks, we’re in the firing line.”
He said the company was reviewing its Sunny D strategy. It has set up a parents’ advisory group and plans new products.
Mary Carmichael