China’s biggest pure juice maker Huiyuan has come up with another new product, this time isotonic drink. Known as Freenergy (飞能), this product is meant for people who “love to sweat.” The target audience is young active white collar consumers living in tier one and tier two cities with medium- to high-levels of income. They exercise purely to release stress and like to enjoy the sensation of sweating after exercising.
With FIFA 2014 just around the corner, the launch of Freenergy with the football theme is timely. The drink is also the official fruit juice supplier to the 2014 Chinese Super League (CSL) football matches. The 500ml Freenergy is a hybrid isotonic drink with 10% fruit juice content. The three flavours are lime, peach and grapefruit.
Juizee Pop sparkling fruit juice
Huiyuan is pinning its hopes on other non-juice beverages including bottled water, tea and carbonated soft drinks (CSD) to drive growth. In 2011, it introduced the Juizee Pop series with 10% fruit juice content. Back then, the company expected the new sparkling fruit juice to account for one-fifth of its sales by the end of 2012. Indeed, sales of other beverage products including Juizee Pop accounted nearly one-fifth of sales in 2012 but that amount included OEM, bottled water and tea, not purely Juizee Pop.
After the initial strong sales growth in 2011-12, other beverage as a category has lost its momentum with sales value falling 14.3% year-on-year in 2013 following a 16.3% decline in sales volume. Juizee Pop has lost its allure. To regain the growth momentum, Huiyuan now turns its eyes on isotonic drinks, which is growing at a strong double-digit growth, much faster than the CSD category as consumers are increasingly leaving the CSD category for healthier, functional drinks. It is still too early to tell if Freenergy succeeds in its mission to reactive growth. One thing for sure is Freenergy will be competing with Danone’s Mizone, which is growing at an average 40% and Danone expects Mizone to reach EUR 1 billion turnover in China soon.