PepsiCo launches clear plastic carafes for Tropicana orange juice as battle with Coca-Cola scales up for share of non-carbonated beverages market; product has been traditonally packaged in 59-oz. paperboard containers

LOS ANGELES , February 17, 2011 () – PepsiCo Inc. has started rolling out its Tropicana orange juice in clear plastic carafes to fight market-share gains by Coca-Cola Co. and its Simply juice brand, The Wall Street Journal reported online Feb. 17.

Tropicana has been traditonally packaged in 59-oz. paperboard containers. The clear carafes for PepsiCo's flagship juices appear to more closely resemble those of Coca-Cola's for its Simply orange juice.

PepsiCo said it began to distribute the carafe-style containers in several western states in February and will launch the new containers U.S.-wide in the coming months, the Journal reported.

While the company also rolled out new packaging for Tropicana in early 2009, it dropped it just six weeks later following poor consumer response and brought back the cartons featuring a straw piercing an orange.

Last summer, PepsiCo switched from cardboard to plastic, see-through carafes for its less-popular Trop50 brand, which has 50% fewer calories than Tropicana Pure Premium. Sales of Trop50 rose nearly 50% in year-on-year terms since then, according to PepsiCo, the Journal reported.

Coca-Cola alleged the design too closely resembled its Simply packaging and the case ended up in a Texas federal court late last year. Both companies declined to comment on the continuing litigation or any effects from the latest PepsiCo packaging.

PepsiCo said it made the latest packaging switch after extensive market research revealed “consumers like to see the juice," company spokesperson Gina Judge said. The company took its inspiration from "crystal carafes" used in homes and restaurants for wine and other beverages, Judge said, the Journal reported.

Tropicana Pure Premium's market share for orange juice at U.S. supermarkets slipped 0.9% to 28% last year, while Simply's share rose 2.2% to 14%, according to Beverage Digest data.

After several years of shrinking U.S. sales for soda, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have increasingly diversified into non-carbonated drinks as a key growth area.

The primary source of this article is The Wall Street Journal, New York, New York, on Feb. 15, 2011.

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