PepsiCo to scrap PJ Smoothies

PepsiCo is scrapping the PJ Smoothies brand at the end of the year and will increase its focus on its Tropicana Smoothies brand. It is the second high-profile smoothie brand to be hit by rising costs of raw ingredients and flagging sales.

The decision to scrap the PJ Smoothies brand comes just a year after it went through a major repositioning and launched new flavours. It scrapped exotic fruit blends in favour of more traditional flavours and the price was slashed by 30%.

It is understood that the closure of the brand is expected to result in up to 40 job losses, while there are expected to be up to 30 job cuts within PepsiCo as part of a company-wide review.

A PepsiCo spokesman says: “We have acted to simplify our manufacturing operations, which includes ceasing production on one of the lines at Boxford, consequently we will be rationalising our beverage portfolio. This decision means we will be retiring the PJ’s smoothie brand.”

The future of PJ Smoothies, which was bought by PepsiCo in 2005, has been in doubt since PepsiCo extended flagship juice brand, Tropicana, into the category in January. It is hoped that it will be a serious competitor to market leader Innocent (MW January 21).

The news comes just weeks after Boosted Smoothies, a joint venture between Nestlª and Boost Juice Bars, was also scrapped after failing to get listings with the major retail chains (MW August 27).

Innocent has also not been immune to the troubles facing the smoothie sector. It is currently looking for an investor to help counter a downturn in smoothie sales and fund further growth. The company will sell a minority stake for up to £35m.

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