Nestle, once the leading company in the fruit drinks market, is to
exit the sector in the UK and is selling its famous Libby’s ’C’ and Um
The decision follows intense competition from supermarkets’ own-label
and pressure from rival branded manufacturers.
Figures from Datamonitor show that in 1992 Libby’s had 26% of the fruit
drinks sector by value. This had dropped to 20.05% by 1995. By
comparison, own-label increased its share from 25% to 27%.
The latest figures from Taylor Nelson AGB show that Sainsbury’s leads
the pounds 426.5m fruit juice market, followed by Safeway and Tesco. Del
Monte is the biggest manufacturer brand and fifth overall, leaving
Libby’s way down the list.
Sources said Nestle intended to keep the Libby’s range in the US and
Canada where the brand is much stronger, as well as in other parts of
Europe, where it has been more successful. But in the UK it was looking
for a significant multi-million sum for the business.
One source said: ’We have been approached about the business but it is
really not big enough anymore for us to be interested.’
The range of brands in the Libby’s range includes: Libby’s ’C’; Um
Bongo, the children’s juice drink which was launched in the early 80s on
the back of the famous commercial: ’Way down deep in the middle of the
Congo, A hippo took an apricot, a guava and a mango ...’ and the two
recent launches, Libby’s Jusante and Libby’s Juicy Juice.
A Nestle spokeswoman said that Libby’s was an important ’strategic
brand’ for the international food manufacturer worldwide, and that in
the UK its volume share had remained static over the past four years at
She was unable to comment on ’market speculation’ about the brand being