Tropicana’s value has turned sour. The brand’s down £31.4m. That’s the biggest absolute loss in any Top Products food and drink category, and equates to selling 23 million litres less fruit juices and smoothies.
A key reason for Tropicana’s dire performance is its delisting by Co-op at the start of 2023 – after the retailer struck a deal to list only market leader Innocent.
Another reason is economic headwinds, claims Liz Ashdown, marketing director UK&I at Tropicana Brands Group. “Consumers are feeling squeezed,” she says. “In a category with high private label presence, the cost of living crisis is a particular challenge for all brands.”
Own label juices and smoothies see sale rise
She has a point. The category has seen 66.9 million fewer litres go through tills as shoppers reined in spending. Of that total, brands account for 52.1 million, a 7% slump, ahead of the overall category’s 5.4% decline.
Tropicana has turned to NPD in a bid to recoup losses. In May, it expanded into ambient with a trio of long-life juices aimed at “customers turning to bulk-buying and opting for shelf-stable options to help with budgeting”.
A two-strong Kids Smoothies lineup followed four months later. The 150ml cartons provided “a convenient and healthy solution for families”, said the brand at the time.
These Tropicana launches have the chops to “reinject positivity into our iconic brand”, Ashdown insists.
Similar optimism is needed at Tropicana stablemate Naked, which has been dropped by Co-op and Waitrose since the start of 2023. It’s lost 10.3% of value on volumes down 16.7%.
In stark contrast to the fortunes of these category powerhouses, smaller challengers have been raking in cash.
Take Moju. The functional drinks brand has grown its top line 40.2% on volumes that have swelled 29.3%, following a bold rebrand including a packaging revamp in a dosing bottle (see Top Launch, below).
Consumers demanding healthier juices
Staying true to its “core value of only using the most natural and potent ingredients” also dissuaded fans from trading down, says Moju category manager Rob Portal.
“Modern consumers have been demanding healthier options to power their busy and active lives, and brands like Moju provide them with a convenient, punchy health boost,” he adds.
Products like Moju’s single-serve shots, which typically retail around £2.10 for 60ml, are helping to grow average price per litre across juices & smoothies. It’s up 8.6% – which NIQ analytics executive Ellie Burnett puts down to more Brits buying smaller formats “for consumption while out and about”.
Seems like the category still has sweet spots after all.
Top Launch 2023
Revamped dosing bottle | Moju
Moju went bold with this gorgeous redesign in March. It’s a “unique and memorable flask-style structure” that evokes vintage medicine bottles. The 420ml pack features debossed dosing lines to make measuring out shots easy. The overhaul been supported by Moju’s first-ever ATL campaign and a £1m-plus sponsorship of Channel 4’s breakfast programming. Plus, the bottle bagged a silver in the pack design category of The Grocer’s New Product & Packaging Awards 2023.
Face off: Top Products Survey 2023 pits brands vs own-label
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Soft drinks - juices & smoothies 2023: Tropicana crashes as Moju soars