Nestle sells off juice in squeeze

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 Bongo brands.

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

Bongo brands.



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

10%.



She was unable to comment on ’market speculation’ about the brand being

sold.



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