…and prepares to attack Lucozade with sport drink

SmithKline Beecham’s Lucozade is preparing for competition from Virgin, which is understood to be planning the launch of a canned sport drink made by the Cott Corporation.

The company describes the new product as a high-energy, restorative drink, which will line up alongside the cola it launched last year (MW October 14). Cott also supplies the formula for Virgin Cola and own-brand colas to Sainsbury’s and Safeway.

Virgin is known to be planning to launch a mineral water, again supplied by Cott, and will also decide at the end of this month on the national launch date for Virgin Vodka, which has been available in London since last December.

The sports drink market is dominated in the UK by SmithKline Beecham’s Lucozade, which holds a 75 per cent share by value (Mintel) and ranks sixth in the soft drinks market with sales of £42m (Nielsen). Worldwide, the principal player in the sports drink market is Quaker Oats’ Gatorade, which is sold in 20 countries and is the leading sports drink in the US though it has only minor distribution in the UK. The other main UK isotonic drink is Isotar, from Wander Foods.

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