The future of Liptonice iced tea in the UK looks bleak after a split between the three companies which produce and distribute it.
PepsiCo and Britvic (which is part-owned by PepsiCo and distributes the product) are dissolving their partnership with Van den Bergh Foods, a Unilever subsidiary.
Van den Bergh is to take over distribution of Liptonice in the UK. It has a long-term commitment to the brand in the other countries around the world – where it has been very successful.
The least committed of the trio was thought to be Britvic, which distributes the carbonated soft drink to supermarkets and convenience stores. Britvic could not confirm suggestions that the brand has been delisted by some supermarkets.
Liptonice will find it difficult to match the power and reach of the Britvic distribution network.
Liptonice was launched in March 1994 with 6m marketing support, and was the first drink of its kind in the mainstream carbonates market. It was repackaged, reformulated and relaunched in May 1995.
The brand has never repeated its American and European success in the UK, possibly because it challenges the British tradition of drinking tea hot.
In the US and Europe, it competes with Coca-Cola and NestlÃ©’s Nestea, which is not distributed here and Quaker-owned Snapple is also in the same market.