The Coca-Cola Co.’s Innocent brand is to discontinue its dairy-free range of beverages, announcing on social media that the three-strong line of drinks would be “leaving shelves in the next few weeks”.
Primarily a producer of smoothies and juices, Innocent entered the dairy-free market 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 almond, hazelnut and coconut. All three were rolled out to Waitrose and the online store Ocado on launch in April 2018.
Taking to social media, Innocent said: “We’re sad to say that our dairy free range will be leaving shelves in the next few weeks. We know some of you really love our coconut, hazelnut and almond drinks, so we wanted to say a big thanks for buying them. We really appreciate all five of you.”
The brand went on to state that the decision had been taken on the back of poor sales performance.
Responding to one user that asked if the announcement was actually a play to advertise the range, Innocent said: “We can barely do normal marketing, let alone fake guerilla marketing to convince people to buy a drink that is about to no longer be a drink.”
In a statement provided to Just Drinks, a spokesperson for Innocent said: “We have made the decision to stop our dairy alternatives range from April 2023 to focus on our 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. In fact, we are already working on some tasty new recipes which include dairy alternative ingredients as part of our product innovation.”
The Coca-Cola Co. has been on a spree of portfolio consolidation in recent years, killing off what it calls “zombie” SKUs. This process started in 2019 when CEO James Quincey said the group would be axing more than 700 SKUs and focusing on brands that were delivering the “highest returns”.
Another recent victim of CSD’s swinging axe was its Honest tea brand, which saw its RTD tea range phased out.
The Coca-Cola Co. said it would not be selling the brand and that it would continue to produce and sell the Honest kids juice range as this had continued to show growth.
Just Drinks has approached The Coca-Cola Co. for comment.