Britvic, whose headquarters are in Chelmsford, Essex, have had to recall £25 million worth of Fruit Shoot stock after a 6 year-old boy almost choked on the patented spill proof lid.
The bottles with the problem are the Robinsons Fruit Shoot range. These are very popular soft drinks for children as they are sugar-free. The problem has been described as a “packaging safety issue“, which is a polite way of saying that children are at risk of choking on the lids.
It is estimated that the cost of recalling bottles and redesigning the lids will be in the region of £15 to £25 million. It could be as long as 6 months before Britvic are ready to put the Robinsons Fruit Shoots back on the shelves.
Share Prices Affected
Britvic’s share price has dropped as a result of the news. Reuters, the investment news company, reported that this could have serious long-term effects on Britvic’s image.
“Robinsons and Fruit Shoot are among the company’s most popular brands.” – Reuters
Britvic has built great respect for its products, for many years sponsoring the Wimbledon Championships. In May 2010 it as agreed to continue to sponsor Wimbledon until at least 2015.
Britvic – Born in Chelmsford
Britvic has its roots in 19th Century Chelmsford. A chemist on Tindal Street started creating soft drinks for the local community. In 1938 the chemists was bought by James MacPherson & Co. Ltd. who started to market the drinks as an affordable way for people to add vitamins to their diet. In 1949 a new range of juices were launched with the name British Vitamin Products.
A series of company mergers and takeovers which included Beechams, Corona, Vine Products, Showerings Limited, Whiteways Cyder Company Ltd. eventually saw British Vitamin Products become a part of Allied Breweries Ltb and Minister Minerals Ltd.
In 1971 a name change result in the official formation of Britvic and by 1977 Britvic 55 was on offer in most pubs.
Britvic has made many vital partnerships since, such as acquiring the rights to licence the Dr. Pepper brand in the UK, purchasing the Tango soft drinks range, and in 1987 Britvic won a 20-year bottling agreement for Pepsi and 7UP in Great Britain. The 1990’s saw more important deals, such as winning the licence for Lipton Ice.
In 1995 Britvic acquired the Robinsons brand from Reckitt and Colman and started producing Robinsons Fruit Squash drinks soon after.
In 2000 Britvic launched the Fruit Shoot range for children – the “ready to drink” fruit squash that did not need you to add water. Concentrated juices were not longer fashionable – concentrate with water was the new fashion. A marketing dream, as water and new packaging is used to add value to a fruit concentrate!
During the noughties Britvic acquired new brands, including as Orchid Drinks, Ame and Purdey’s, and the rights to produce RED DEVIL. It also renewed its contracts with PepsiCo until 2023.
2005 – Flotation on the London Stock Exchange
In 2005 Britvic floated on the London Stock Exchange. A big accomplishment for a company with such humble origins on a side street in Chelmsford.
The Britvic brand is certainly very strong and it has major partnerships. Britvic is now the second largest supplier of soft drinks in the UK.
It’s headquarters are at Britvic House, Broomfield Road Chelmsford, Essex, England.
Health and Safety Suggestion
Britvic, on their website (link below) state the following:
- We have identified that a small number of caps on Fruit Shoot (new design) have been damaged during the manufacturing process.
- The issue is restricted to the cap only and there are no issues with the soft drink.
- All affected products should be returned to store for a full refund.
If you have some fruit shoot bottles in your cupboard the safest option if you do not wish to send them back to Britvic is to open them and pour the drink into a cup rather than allow your child to suck on the lid.
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James MacPherson Chemists poster image by sludgegulper and released under a Creative Commons licence.