Functional drinks from innovative UK company Extreme Drinks are to be rolled out in leading French supermarkets, after initial success in the Alps last season.
Extreme's range, including Energy, Enduro and Chillout, and the spirit brand 'Wokka Sake', will be available from the Auchan Group, Atac, Carrefour (1580 stores), Cora and Match supermarkets, following a new agreement with distributor International Breweries & Beers (IBB).
An intense marketing plan is also under way with a sampling campaign worth €250,000 focused on Paris and the Alp regions. The company has launched Pan European sponsorship of 'Legends of the Extreme' on the Extreme Sports Channel and a national billboard campaign is earmarked for first quarter 2004.
The French market is traditionally more difficult for energy-boosting products as it does not permit the use of taurine, used widely in energy drinks, as a food ingredient. Austrian firm Bombaenergy has reformulated its product line, removing the taurine specifically for launch in France, while European energy drink leader Red Bull is still not present on the French market, refusing to modify its successful formula.
"French law is amongst the strictest in the world for food and drink security and Extreme Drinks have been able to bring out a range of fantastically packaged, great tasting and effective drinks while respecting these laws," said Jean Luc Butez, CEO of IBB.
Extreme's 'Energy' drink contains a blend of Kombucha, ginseng and guarana. Its endurance drink 'Enduro', contains a plant protein called hyprol, said to speed up energy restoration after intense exercise, while the 'Chillout' drink contains cammomile, valerian, lemongrass and St John's wort.
Extreme Drinks has recently launched a sister company, the Extreme Sports Channel, on CanalSatellite, to add to its existing distribution on Noos. The Extreme Sports Channel is currently available in 2.6 million French homes, according to the firm, ensuring high brand visibility.
Managing director of Extreme Drinks Tim Day said: "The response we've had from the French market can only be described as phenomenal."
He explained that the market offers a culture that is passionate about extreme sports.
International Breweries and Beers distributes specialist beers, waters and drinks in the French market, and also has a specialist arm dealing with the UK and Benelux. Extreme Drinks has also set up an agreement with CG Hibbert, to distribute its products in European duty free and travel retailers.