Director Jeremy Jaffé told FoodManufacture.co.uk that Simply Nectar was seeing “great” growth, where it is produced and bottled in southern France, with a holding business back in the UK. The brand forms part of organic food firm What on Earth!
“Simply Nectar was begun in 2001, but we thought last year that it deserved to be rebranded – sales have gone phenomenally well since then,” he said.
Not so Innocent
Simply Nectar supplies UK delicatessens, and Jaffé agreed this was a much overlooked sales avenue: “Absolutely it is, because everyone wants to be the next Innocent, they’re all chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” he said.
Describing Simply Nectar as an artisanal brand, he said the focus was on product quality. The range includes flavours such as peach, raspberry and pear with no added colours, preservatives or sugar, in 25cl glass bottles.
The French site produces and bottles around 20 palettes of nectar per month, and Jaffé said:“It’s a quality product, and it’s not our mission to get into every corner store.”
Jaffé said that Simply Nectar was sold in UK outlets of Nando’s for many years, where before this deal the restaurant chain supplied “sugar-filled crud”.
He added:“They wanted a newer drink offering, and we were a kind of stopgap. For them it was a relatively expensive product, although it sold well at its price point.”
But he said that Nando’s found an alternative supplier – Juice Republic, which subsequently entered administration last November – since selling the product by the glass rather than in bottles (Simply Nectar’s format) and buying 5l containers with a pared-down product range was cheaper.
And while turnover had dipped slightly since a high of around£2m during the Nandos contract, he said that Simply Nectar was “expecting to approach that figure again within the next 12 months or so”.
EU labelling changes
Jaffé also criticised proposed EU labelling changes via an amendment to Directive 2011/112/EC for fruit nectars and juices – scheduled for an imminent plenary or full vote in the EU Parliament after a first reading yesterday – which will remove the need for nectar producers who add sugar to products (sucrose in addition to fructose present in fruit) to signal this on labelling.
The move risked damaging the industry and deceiving customers, Jaffé said,since poorer quality nectar producers would not have to list added refined sugars. The changes also propose allowing use of other sweeteners other than honey and sugar.
Said Jaffé: “None of our drinks contain refined sugars and we are proud of that. Companies that do use refined sugars, however, usually do it for economic reasons.
“If labels get changed it means that more businesses can go for the cheaper option, include refined sugars and not have to make it so obvious to their customers.
“This is being dishonest to the audience, particularly in an age when food labelling is aiming to be more open and informative."