Unilever told Adez supply issues could harm launch

Retailers have warned Unilever it is risking the long-term success of Adez because it is struggling to keep up with demand for the soya-based fruit drink. It is understood that store bosses are becoming impatient over supply issues.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company invested &£12m in the launch of the health drink this summer. It has been backed by a major advertising campaign and heavy price promotion in stores, with many supermarkets running buy one, get one free campaigns.

One source says that Unilever has “thrown the kitchen sink” at the brand, which is its first new food brand in several years, and worked closely with retailers on pre-selling campaigns. But he adds: “I am surprised at the success of the drink but it is a niche market and I fear that unless Unilever keeps it in consumers’ faces that repeat purchase is unlikely.”

Another source says that the company is suffering because the range only has three variants – Orange and Peach, Pineapple and Passionfruit, and Mango and Apricot – so it cannot reduce production of one flavour to make way for a more popular one. He says: “There is nothing Unilever can do, it is just trying to catch up.”

The launch of Adez, first revealed in Marketing Week, marks Unilever’s first new food brand in years and underlines its commitment to boosting its range of healthier eating products (MW February 9).

The launch echoes a shift in the food industry towards healthier eating. Unilever already markets a range of functional foods under its Flora Pro.Activ brand and last year it launched Knorr Vie Shots, a fruit and vegetable shot drink.

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