Del Monte hires former Heinz boss

Del Monte has appointed former Heinz general manager Leigh Edwards as commercial director ahead of an aggressive push to reinvigorate the brand.

The juice and fruit giant has also recently appointed a UK head of marketing, David Wilkinson, who will report to Edwards.

Though pure fruit juice sales are dominated by own-label products, which account for more than 80 per cent of market volume, of the sector’s big brands, PepsiCo’s Tropicana has stolen the lead from Del Monte. Del Monte’s volume sales fell by 20 per cent between 2000 and 2003 (Mintel).

Managing director Peter Miller confirms Del Monte is to go “all out” in 2006 to bolster the brand, long the UK’s leading branded fruit juice. “We believe opportunities have not been maximised and we will be launching further products.”

Miller says that marketing spend for next year has yet to be finalised but admits it will be “significant” compared with recent years, and that campaigns will run “across all media including television, press and radio”. This year the company spent &£1.6m on advertising, according to Nielsen.

Miller denies the activity is due to losing the top spot, but a Del Monte insider says: “Tropicana has taken the consumer-perceived Del Monte heartland and we haven’t done enough to keep our position.”

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