UK – Atlanta-based beverage company Coca-Cola Company has pulled the plug on its dairy-free beverage brand Innocent after failing to meet sales expectations five years after its initial launch in the UK.
Primarily a producer of smoothies and juices, Innocent, entered the dairy industry in 2018 with a UK launch that sought to leverage the growing demand for dairy-free beverages.
The range consisted of dairy-free drinks made from almonds, hazelnut and coconut. All three were rolled out to Waitrose and the online store Ocado on launch in April 2018.
In a social media post, the Atlanta-based owner of popular soda brands Coke and Fanta announced that the three different drinks marketed under the brand will be “leaving shelves in the next few weeks”.
“We’re sad to say that our dairy-free range will be leaving shelves in the next few weeks. We know some of you love our coconut, hazelnut and almond drinks, so we wanted to say a big thanks for buying them,’ the company stated in a tweet thread.
When a user speculated that the announcement was an attempt to drum up business for the new product line, Innocent replied that the company can barely conduct conventional marketing, let alone fake guerilla marketing to get people to buy a drink that is about to no longer be a drink.
Innocent Dairy’s Spokeswoman stated JustDrinks stating that the company have chosen to stop our dairy alternatives collection from April 2023 to focus on their best-selling fruit and veg juices and smoothies.
“Whilst the dairy alternatives range won’t be continuing, we will continue to explore the use of dairy alternatives as ingredients in our products. We are already working on some tasty new recipes which include dairy alternative ingredients as part of our product innovation,” she added.
Coca-Cola has been systematically eliminating what it labels “zombie” product lines from its portfolio in recent years.
The portfolio restructuring date back to 2019 when CEO James Quincey announced that the company would be eliminating over 700 SKUs to concentrate on brands with the “greatest returns,” the process began.
Honest tea which the company acquired outrightly in 2011 was also discontinued similarly in 2022 to allow the company to focus on other high-growth brands.
Honest tea which was discontinued in 2022 joined a long list of other brands including Coca-Cola cut Tab, Odwalla and Zico coconut water that the beverage giant had shelved in a portfolio optimization exercise.
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