Sainsbury's pulls Sirco from chilled juice range
heart health juice, with UK retailer Sainsbury's ditching it as
part of a chilled juice reorganisation.
The tomato-based drink only hit shelves in January, and Sainsbury's was the first major retailer to jump on board, stocking it in more than 200 stores.
But now Sainsbury's has said it is cease selling the product as part of a major rationalisation of its chilled juice range.
The news is bound to be frustrating for the company, which is currently working hard to build awareness of the product and brand amongst consumers with a national marketing campaign.
However the decision may not be catastrophic: Tesco and Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Group, are both stocking the drink in some of their stores, and the company has said that sales are growing. Moreover, it has indicated that it is still in discussion with other retailers in the grocer and health channels with a view to increasing distribution.
Sirco is the first commercially available product using Provexis' proprietary standardized tomato extract. The extract is said to inhibit platelet aggregation, part of the blood-clotting process that can cause heart attack and stroke.
Four human clinical trials support this effect and the product's label bears a heart health claim. It is also endorsed by the charity Heart UK.
Leatherhead Foods predicts that sales of heart health foods will be worth almost $5.7 billion by 2009 - almost a 60 per cent over the 2004 figure. It said in its recent "Heart Benefit Foods" report that, until now, juice drinks have tended to have a general health positioning due to their antioxidant content.
Indeed, it may be that the Sainsbury's decision is down to Sirco falling into a niche within the overall juice market that is not well enough established.
Sirco is not the only product offering heart benefits specifically, though.
Sales of Pomegreat pomegranate juice have been impressive since its launch in the UK in 2004, and The Coca Cola Company is expected to expand its Minute Maid juice line in the UK, introduced in June 2005, with a product enriched with plant sterols. The company has received initial approval from the UK's novel foods committee, and Minute Maid HeartWise has already proved a bit with US consumers.