Umbro plans expansion into food

Umbro, a sponsor of the England football team, is preparing to diversify into branded confectionery and drink products in an effort to broaden its international appeal beyond its core audience of teenage football fans.

The sports brand has hired Wirral marketing consultancy Real World Marketing to pinpoint sectors and products with the highest potential and build an international network of licensees.

Umbro already has a presence in the sports drink market with Umbro Hypotonic, but it is firmly entrenched in the specialist end of the sector, poles apart from more mainstream drinks such as GlaxoSmithKline's Lucozade Sport and Coca-Cola's Powerade.

Adrian Cory, brand marketing director at Umbro, said: "The brand targets 12- to 20-year-old football enthusiasts, but its potential reach is much broader. With the right products, Umbro can become a significant player in confectionery and soft drinks within the next few years."

According to ACNielsen, the sports drinks sector was worth £97.5m in 2001 and is expected to have reached £150m for 2002.

The energy confectionery market is also poised for growth. Experentis, a specialist in 'experience' foods, kickstarted the category last summer when it unveiled GoCo to clubbers in Ibiza (Marketing, July 11, 2002).

In the autumn, Cadbury relaunched its Boost brand as a range of chocolate bars enhanced with guarana and glucose (Marketing, September 5, 2002).

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