Sainsbury’s is understood to be on the verge of striking a deal to sell Classic Cola via hospitals.
It is understood this would be the first time Sainsbury’s has taken one of its brands outside its grocery distribution network.
The deal would provide the right environment for Sainsbury’s to capitalise on its “caring, family store” brand image.
The move, probably to sell Classic Cola through canteens and hospital cafe areas, would almost certainly involve introducing vending machines which would compete head on with those from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
Supermarket sales of colas in the first quarter of 1995 have shown a dramatic increase over the same period last year. Sales increased by 18 per cent in value, according to Taylor Nelson AGB.
Industry sources suggest Coca-Cola’s value share of supermarket sales has dropped from 44 per cent to 32 per cent in the past year. Pepsi sales have dropped from 18 per cent to 13 per cent, while sales of own-label colas – including Classic Cola – have increased from 20 per cent to 36 per cent. Virgin Cola has about nine per cent of the market.
Sainsbury’s would not confirm that a deal is planned.
Top marketer move, page 8