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    Pepsi, Ocean Spray Alliance Gets Juicier

    Partnership to encompass new juice drinks.

    By Stacy Straczynski

    PURCHASE, N.Y. --- PepsiCo and Ocean Spray are looking to squeeze more benefits out of their long-term distribution alliance. PepsiCo is expanding the partnership, which currently allows the number-two beverage giant to distribute single-serve Ocean Spray cranberry juice products, to encompass 15.2-ounce single-serve juice products.

    PepsiCo will begin to produce and distribute the five additional beverage flavors -- 100% Apple, 100% Orange, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Pineapple Peach Mango and Strawberry Kiwi -- in February 2010.

    The beverage giant also will distribute a 15.2-ounce blueberry-flavored juice when Ocean Spray launches the new flavor next year. Products associated with the expanded alliance will be available for consumer purchase in convenience and gas, club, grocery and drug stores, as well as at mass merchandisers and foodservice providers.

    The expansion will help to increase Ocean Spray's consumer audience, Tom Silk, vice president of marketing for hydration and juice brands at Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages, said in a statement. "Ocean Spray juices and juice drinks represent an important part of our overall beverage strategy, particularly from a wellness standpoint. Not only is Ocean Spray pioneering beverage innovation with sought-after super fruits like cranberries and blueberries, they have broad equity in a variety of healthy, great-tasting juice options."

    John Sicher, an editor at Beverage Digest, is not surprised the companies sought to further the alliance. "It's a small part of the business for Pepsi, but it's good for both companies. Ocean Spray benefits from the Pepsi distribution system, and the Pepsi bottlers get more offerings from a strong but small brand."

    The original alliance between PepsiCo and Ocean Spray, an agricultural cooperative of cranberry growers, began in 2007. At the time, the agreement called for distribution of 15.2-ounce single-serve juices in three Ocean Spray flavors: Juice Cocktail, Cran-Grape Grape Cranberry Juice Drink and Cran-Pomegranate.

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