The UK relaunch of Plenty, the healthy juice brand from pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline , due later this month, is a clear indication of the company's desire to tap into the growing trend for healthy food and drink products.
But, coming as it does less than a year after Plenty was initially withdrawn from the market, the challenge for GSK is to make the brand stand out on the increasingly crowded supermarket shelves, according to market analysts Datamonitor.
GSK's Plenty will be relaunched on 12 May, retailing only in Tesco Metro stores before being extended to other leading supermarket chains in the summer. The product, a 100 per cent not-from-concentrate pure fresh juice, will be packaged in 750ml sized bottles and made available in two variants, Essential C and Essential Energy, both of which will retail for around £2 (€2.8).
But, as Datamonitor points out, history is not on GSK's side. In 1999, the company attempted to enter the smoothie market using its well-established Ribena brand, only for the product to be withdrawn in 2000. Last year, the Plenty juice drinks range was scrapped after only six months despite prior claims by GSK's Nutritional Healthcare arm that the brand was signifying "the creation of a new super-juice category".
However, GSK has remained optimistic and hopes the launch will lead to a new fresh juice sub-category as well as boosting the fresh juice market as a whole.
Datamonitor said that the relaunch marks a slight repositioning of the brand from last year. Not only has the pack size and naming of the sub-brands changed, but the overall positioning is now more mainstream. This is indicated by the planning of more point-of-purchase promotions and adverts in retail magazines, to accompany the limited samplings and leaflets traditionally associated with new drink launches.
But Plenty will face stiff competition. The energising variant faces indirect competition from a saturated energy drinks market, while Essential C will be competing directly with established brands such as Innocent and Ocean Spray. Furthermore, supermarket own label products are adding further competition to the juice category.
"The future success of Plenty will rest on its ability to promote its associated natural health benefits to consumers," Datamonitor said. "Perceived health benefits are the most relevant and important belief impacting European food and drink purchases. However, numerous drinks manufacturers are beginning to realise this, suggesting that Plenty may not have enough to prevent a similar scenario to last year occurring again. At the very least, plenty of hurdles lie ahead."
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