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Past its Prime? Soft drinks brand in freefall with bottles reduced to just 31p

Published on The Grocer

 

Sales of Prime have crashed since the start of 2024, with year-on-year sales down over 50% according to NIQ data.

Prime – the viral soft drinks brand fronted by YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI – was the fastest growing food and drink brand in 2023, adding £148m in sales according to The Grocer’s Britain’s Biggest Brands report 2024 [NIQ 52 we 31 December].

But in the first quarter of 2024 its sales of £12.8m are less than half the £26.8m racked up in the same period last year [NIQ 12 w/e 23 March 2023], showing how the premium Prime was able to command has declined amid wider distribution. Volumes, meanwhile, have slid by 33.5%.

The slump is almost entirely attributable to a collapse in Prime’s Hydration line, sales of which have crashed £15.2m on volumes down 41.1% [NIQ]. The brand’s newer Energy line, launched last spring, climbed 352% and brought in sales of £1.6m last quarter.

With sales of Hydration receding, retailers are discounting to clear excess stock. Images shared on social media platform X last month showed 500ml bottles of Blue Raspberry and Strawberry Watermelon reduced to 31p in one Tesco store.

The 31p shelf-edge price is an 87.6% decrease on the £2.50 rsp commanded by the drink when it launched in Tesco in June 2023.

Tesco was the last of the big four to stock Prime, having initially steered clear over fears UK manufacturer Refresco could not guarantee a consistent supply.

Independents have also been discounting Prime Hydration variants. A senior convenience source said he was not surprised sales were now falling and destocking was inevitable.

“All this stuff in my world is ‘you’re in you’re out’,” they said. “There are very few products that become relevant over a 12-month period.

“Prime was TikTok, kids, limited supply, and a lot of independents selling it for £10 a bottle. I said to my guys, ‘let’s get what stock we can and fill our boots but get out quick.’”

“Now the market is flooded. It’s available in every multiple, so no kid wants it. The original five variants; you almost can’t give them away. But Prime has been really smart with new variants. That keeps the buzz going.”

Iceland Foods this week announced plans to stock a new limited edition Strawberry & Banana Prime variant from 8 April for an rsp of £2.

The retailer – alongside Asda and Morrisons – is still selling the Blue Raspberry and Strawberry Watermelon variants (among others) at a pre-promotional price of £2, according to Assosia data.

Prime could not be reached for comment.

Correction: This article previously stated Prime volumes had declined 19.8% and Prime Hydration sales by £11.2m in the first 12 weeks of 2024 [NIQ]. On 8 April, the article was amended to state Prime volumes declined 33.5% and Prime Hydration sales by £15.2m. 

Published on The Grocer, 4th April 2024

https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/soft-drinks/prime-sales-in-freefall-with-bottles-reduced-in-tesco-to-just-31p/689987.article