Diageo to launch Smirnoff Vodka with real fruit
Diageo is readying to launch Smirnoff Sourced – a flavoured vodka range that is infused with real fruit juice, labelled gluten-free and devoid of high-fructose corn syrup.
Currently available in three flavours – Ruby Red Grapefruit, Cranberry Apple, and Pineapple – Smirnoff Sourced is said to bring “authenticity to an often artificially flavoured category of the spirits business”.
The vodkas contain real fruit juice from concentrate, along with other “natural flavours”, and so should be refrigerated after opening.
“We expect this to have big consumer appeal,” said Diageo’s CEO Ivan Menezes at the time the group’s H1 financial results were announced.
“Smirnoff infused with real fruit juice, gluten-free and no high fructose corn syrup. It leverages all the growing trends in food and beverage which have not yet been available in spirits at a mass scale.”
Newly formed Breakthru Beverage Group, one of Diageo’s North American distributors, said the brand extension “responds to consumer demand for natural flavour choices and transparency about product ingredients”.
The distributor cited a study by The Futures Company that revealed purchase behaviour based on label information, such as trading artificial for real ingredients, increased 13% in 2015.
“More and more, American consumers are attracted to natural products and are willing to pay more for a brand that contains ingredients that align with their standards,” said Breakthru.
The release of Smirnoff Sourced is the latest innovation from the brand, launched as part of a wider bid to reignite sales. In October last year, Diageo launched the Smirnoff Electric range, comprising Berry, Apple, Mandarin and Guarana flavours.
Smirnoff vodka’s organic sales increased 2% in the first half of Diageo’s financial year, pushed ahead by a return to growth in the US.
The brand has suffered a loss of market share and sales declines in recent years, with Smirnoff’s brand director Matt Bruhn blaming a surplus of flavoured variants and high price points.