At its launch launched in 2008 the ’natural born cola’ was hailed by the then marketing director, Bruno Gruwez, as “the most significant innovation from Pepsi UK in the last 15 years”.
The brand has been struggling in the off-trade since its launch in late 2008, with the latest figures from Nielsen showing sales of £704,000 for the year ending June 26.
It had fared better in pubs and clubs, but in spite of this “great success” a spokeswoman says the “less successful” roll-out to the grocery trade has resulted in the decision to de-list the product from the entire UK market.
In July Britvic, Pepsi’s UK bottler, confirmed that the brand was under review.
The decision raises questions over Pepsi’s wide-ranging set of commitments, published in March, to move the food and drinks company firmly into the health space. Part of this commitment involved the company throwing its advertising weight behind its “healthier” brands such as Pepsi Raw, as well as Pepsi Max.
From this year Pepsi pledged that all its advertising would support the growth of no-sugar or natural products. Pepsi Raw is made with 10% less sugar than regular Pepsi and is available only in smaller portions – 300ml bottles and 250ml cans.
However, the de-listing of Pepsi Raw is unlikely to free up significant spend for its other healthier brands. Rather than backing the brand with a large-scale launch, it relied on building buzz and word-of-mouth marketing, as well as a heavy retail presence and promotional activity. Last year, for instance, the brand was believed to be the first FMCG brand to print a Twitter address on its products.
Pepsi Raw is the first new brand from Pepsi since the launch of Pepsi Max in 1993.