PepsiCo is repositioning its PJ's Smoothies as a more mainstream brand by cutting prices by 30% and reducing the size of the range by half.

The revamped range, which will be priced at 99p for a 250ml bottle and £1.99 for a one-litre bottle, is intended to position the smoothie brand as a rival to own label by significantly widening its price difference with market leader Innocent (rsp: £1.79-£1.99 for 250ml).

PJ's sales were up 6.8% to £24.2m in the year to October [Nielsen]. However, this was dwarfed by Innocent's growth, which leapt 60.6% to £131.4m.

The lower price point has been achieved by removing botanical extracts and replacing exotic fruits, such as guanabana and ginko biloba, with more mainstream fruits, including apples, oranges and bananas, which are now the core ingredients.

However, brand manager Richard Lawrence said quality had not been affected. "Using more cost-effective raw materials as well as efficiency gains from producing only four flavours has allowed us to hit the lower price point while maintaining quality," he said.

Six flavours have been delisted, two reformulated and two new flavours have been introduced.

Although Lawrence said buyer reaction to the updated products had been positive, David Lunn, buying controller at Nisa-Today's, warned that lower prices could devalue the sector.

Giles Brook, commercial director for Innocent, welcomed the move. "The relaunch of PJ's is moving the brand further away from our offering. We will watch to see what happens to its relationship with own label."

Claire Nuttall, client director at brand agency Dragon, said it was essential for PJ's to take major action. "It will be interesting to see how much additional brand power PJ's has over own label. Taste is such a powerful driver in this area and retailers are pretty good at developing great-tasting new flavour variants."

The relaunch will be supported with a marketing push later this year, including sampling and in-store activity.

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