Sirco, a chilled fruit juice drink containing DSM’s Fruitflow tomato extract, has been on sale in the UK since 2005. Despite over a decade on the market, an EU-approved blood circulation improvement claim and year-on-year sales growth of around 5%, the drink remains niche – a situation the brand’s owner is looking to change.
“For the success of the brand we need to try and widen its appeal,” Beverley Brealey, brand manager and national account manager at Sirco owner Multiple Marketing, told NutraIngredients.
“We want to make Sirco available to everybody - not just a certain market, and we want it to be a lifestyle choice - a product that people consume as part of a healthy lifestyle. We are confident that the product extensions we have in the pipeline will engage more people’s interest.”
Whilst Brealey was unable to reveal full NPD details, she disclosed that the new introductions will be chilled “easy to drink” products, that “will not just impact blood circulation but also lower cholesterol”, as well as featuring “two vitamins that people are lacking in”.
The launches will be accompanied by a marketing push, in an attempt to raise consumer awareness about why they should take Sirco.
“The key is getting people to trial the product as once they try Sirco they like the taste and become very brand-loyal,” said Brealey.
But despite the robust and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)-endorsed science behind Sirco, Multiple Marketing conceded that it has had a hard time convincing consumers to add the product to their longterm shopping baskets.
“The challenge is getting people to understand why they need to keep on taking the product. People are always looking for a quick fix, but blood circulation is not like an injury where you can see an immediate benefit,” she said.
“What is also difficult is that blood flow is not a heart health benefit people know much about; I think Sirco was ahead of its time. There has been a lot of focus on other health areas, such as cholesterol lowering, but there has never been any focus on blood flow, so we have to get that across, and as a small company, we don’t have big budgets.”
Even with limited clout, Sirco has long had the backing of Ocado, and has listings with Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Amazon and Holland & Barrett. Last year saw the brand test out a new route to market, with a pilot on the home shopping channel QVC.
Beyond the UK
At the same time, Multiple Marketing has been steadily building an overseas business for Sirco, and estimates that export and domestic sales are now split 50:50. Sirco is sold in China, Austria and Germany, and Brealey confirmed that Multiple Marketing is in talks with distributors in Portugal, Spain and India, and considering moves into Ireland, Italy and France.
Asked what her long term ambitions were for Sirco, Brealey said: “To become a household name would be fantastic, but it’s about being responsible as well as successful - this isn’t a magic potion. What we really want to do is get the benefit out there: heart health isn’t just about cholesterol, it’s about having healthy circulation and blood flow.”