Britvic Soft Drinks, the UK's second largest soft drink producer after Cadbury Schweppes, is to launch a new brand next month offering drinkers a product which it claims is unique to the British market.
Freekee Soda is a carbonated drink targeted firmly at consumers of cola and other fizzy drinks, notably children. It contains a blend of 4 per cent skimmed milk with 7 per cent real fruit juice, said to provide "a smoother drinking sensation". It has no added sugar and each bottle is fortified with a sixth of the recommended daily allowance of calcium.
The company claims its new product creates a new sub-category called 'texture-based fizz' - from the addition of fizz to a milk and fruit juice blend - already seen on the European market in Tropicana product A Touch of Milk.
"Freekee Soda is a distinctly different type of soft drink," said Andrew Marsden, category director at Britvic. "It will tap into a whole new profit opportunity for retailers and licensees. Kids are by far the most important soft drink consumers and they love fizzies.
"They are also constantly looking for something new, exciting and different. Through our Right Choice soft drinks management programme we have developed a unique brand that appeals to 'tweens' and their mums."
Self-purchase of soft drinks among kids is worth £280 million a year and growing, according to the company which claims Freekee Soda has performed exceptionally well in research.
Freekee Soda, which comes in Strange Strawberry and Odd Orange flavours, is packaged in metallic, uniquely shaped, embossed bottles. Both 330ml portable, resealable bottles and 330ml x 4 multipacks will be available in take-home sizes.
Freekee has been under development at Britvic for three years and will be launched into Cash & Carry and Impulse at the end of February 2003, said the company. The product has been supported with a £1.5 million spend on new manufacturing equipment and a £6.25 million launch. From mid March, Britvic will be working exclusively, for eight weeks, with selected launch partners in the leisure and catering market, which will be followed by a national roll out programme into On-Premise.
These are busy days for Britvic, which is owned by Brittania Soft Drinks, a consortium of Six Continents (the leisure arm of what was once Bass), Allied Domecq and Whitbread. The company has also just embarked upon a major new £1.5 million advertising campaign for its Purdey's brand, another soft drink which targets 18 to 34-year-olds.