Coke warned over Minute Maid plans

Retailers have warned Coca-Cola that its relaunch of Minute Maid will fail unless the soft drinks giant finds a clearer positioning for the product.

The juice brand is due to be relaunched at Easter with improved packaging and clearer labelling to provide consumers with a better idea of what the product is.

But retail sources say that the drink has failed to make an impact with consumers despite heavy investment in TV advertising. Insiders believe that the drink is suffering because Coke does not understand where to position the product in the market.

Coke is keen for the brand, which has a pure juice called Minute Maid 100% and a diluted drink called Froot Refresh, to compete head on with rivals such as PepsiCo-owned Tropicana and supermarket own-label products.

A Coca-Cola spokesman says: “Froot Refresh will be renamed Minute Maid Juice Drinks to help us achieve a consistent look and feel across the range, delivering clearer on-pack communications. This will provide a platform for brand innovation.”

But retail insiders say that Coke is “increasingly desperate for distribution” and retailers are beginning to distance themselves from the product. One source says: “We made a decision from the start not to stock Minute Maid because of its confusing messages. It tries to be everything, it is competing against premium products and own-label juices but needs to decide what kind of product it is. Coke has talked about the relaunch but we’re not convinced.”

He adds that Minute Maid is priced to compete against Tropicana, which is a premium product, but is perceived by consumers to be lower quality and similar to own-label products.

The source adds: “Based on Minute Maid’s poor base sale rate, we feel vindicated in not taking it. Market data shows Coke doesn’t have the distribution it launched with and it is decreasing further.”

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