Alfresh to juice up marketing for acquired brands

Three of Canada's value-priced bottled-juice brands are about to get some additional marketing muscle....

Three of Canada’s value-priced bottled-juice brands are about to get some additional marketing muscle.

On Nov. 1, the Sunlike, Fairlee and Everfresh brands became part of Alfresh Beverages Canada, a standalone subsidiary of Alfresh Foods of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. As such, they’ll stand to benefit from some much-need marketing resources and expertise, says Marian Magrane, vice-president of strategic planning with Alfresh Canada agency DraftWorldwide Canada.

‘Right now, the players are primarily sales-driven companies. And they’ve been very successful at that,’ says Magrane. ‘With the creation of Alfresh Canada, [the focus] is going to be on the marketing behind these key brands.’

With the absorption of both Sunlike Juice and Fairlee Fruit Juice (Everfresh Juice Co. was purchased by Fairlee in 1999), Alfresh Beverages Canada has now become the country’s largest single-serve juice company, accounting for some $100 million in sales.

Not exactly chump change. The challenge, however, will be to turn the company from a supply-driven outfit to a demand-driven one.

Sunlike president Terry Topos, who will continue to oversee Sunlike’s business, says there are no plans to discontinue any of the company’s brands for the time being.

Rather, Topos says, the pooling of resources made possible by the new company will strengthen each of the brands for expansion into the U.S. market.

While there is some overlap, each of the Alfresh Canada brands has its own niche, says Topos. Sunlike does well at retail, Fairlee has made its mark in the foodservice industry and Everfresh is recognized in convenience stores and cash-and-carries.

Since product innovation is so crucial to the bottled-juice category, Magrane says coming up with new flavours and improved packaging will likely become a top priority.

The first order of business, however, will be to squeeze out some trade ads to introduce the Alfresh Beverages Canada name to the various distribution channels through which the brands travel.

After that, both client and agency will be reviewing the juice companies’ market research and correlating data wherever possible, says Magrane. Next, they’ll conduct focus groups to gauge consumer perception of each brand. It’s only then, she says, that the client will be able to determine which of the brands should lead in the consumer market, and that the agency can work up a positioning statement for each.

‘The biggest single challenge,’ she says, ‘is being able to determine which of these three brands represents the biggest opportunities and how best to market each of them so that you are getting the best returns.’

Magrane estimates that it will take three to six months before any new consumer-oriented advertising breaks.