It is scrapping the three-strong 750ml range of yoghurt drinks, which hit shelves last April, but keeping its 250ml 'on the go' thickies', which were launched in 2000 and will continue to be available in impulse chillers front of store as well as foodservice outlets.
The decision to pull the bigger format bottles, which were sold in the dairy aisle, would allow Innocent to concentrate on more "relevant and exciting" NPD, including its recently launched banana-free smoothie and new kids' products currently in the pipeline, said commercial director Giles Brook.
"The big 'thickies' range generated more than £1m in first-year retail sales but it has since become clear our drinkers expect Innocent or smoothie-related products to be in the chilled juice aisle, not the dairy aisle," Brook said.
The launch of the big 'thickies', two of which were previously available in 250ml bottles, marked Innocent's first concerted move beyond the chilled smoothie & juice fixture. It was backed with a £1m campaign in a bid to grab £5m of the drinking yoghurt category within a year.
Experts were not surprised about the delisting. "It's fair to say that consumers would expect Innocent products to be in the chilled juice fixture but this is just one of many reasons why the 750ml variants failed," said Kate Waddell of brand agency Dragon Rouge. "The 750ml range is quite polarised and certainly not one with that universal, family, mass appeal smoothies have."
Waddell questioned the ability of a smoothie brand to "deliver dairy credibly". But Brook insisted dairy "remained a big opportunity for Innocent". "Our little bottles will remain on shelf and continue to make a great on-the go solution," he said. "They are popular as a beverage in their own right and are also bought as a healthy snack."