Ribena Frusion

Source: Lucozade Ribena Suntory

Ribena Frusion Blueberry is available in a 420ml bottle

Lucozade Ribena Suntory is aiming to cash in on the flavoured water boom with Ribena Frusion, which the soft drinks giant has hailed as its biggest launch of 2019.

Expected to generate £18m in its first year of sales, Frusion – blackcurrant water infused with real fruit and botanicals – was the most significant NPD for Ribena since 2012’s functional Ribena Plus lineup, said LRS.

The result of two years’ planning, the new drink will roll out from 4 March backed by a £6.2m campaign. A 420ml on-the-go format will comprise Blueberry and Kiwi variants (rsp: £1.25), while a one-litre bottle will be available in Kiwi, Lemon Peel and Asda-exclusive Elderflower (rsp: £2). All packs are 100% recycled plastic.

Frusion’s range is made with sugar to combat the natural “acidity” of blackcurrant juice. However, the sugar levels are below the soft drinks levy threshold, and the variants are low calorie. The core Blueberry flavour, for instance, provides 19 kcal per 100ml.

Ribena Frusion - Kiwi

Source: Lucozade Ribena Suntory

On-the-go format also comes as Kiwi

The launch would tap “consumer need for tasty hydration, wellness and enjoyment, while bringing incrementality to the category” said Blanche de Gramont, senior brand manager for Ribena.

“This is a huge launch for the Ribena brand, and builds on the expertise that Ribena has in working with the mighty blackcurrant.”

LRS wanted to “maximise the super-fruit” at the heart of the Ribena brand, she said, with the aim of Frusion becoming as successful as stablemate Lucozade Zero – the sugar-free sub-brand launched in May 2016 to become worth £29m within nine months [IRI 52 w/e 25 February 2017].

Frusion’s marketing push will kick off in May across TV, OOH, digital, sampling and in-store, aimed at young adults and focusing on “the hydration aspect of Ribena Frusion, its unique taste, its real fruit and botanical infusion flavours and its natural credentials”.

The Ribena RTD portfolio slipped 3.9% in value last year to £99.8m as health-conscious shoppers abandoned juices and smoothies in favour of bottled water – a category that grew by 6% to £1,174.7m [Nielsen] as brands saw their flavoured lines grow in popularity.