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The CEO giving his firm some innovation loving

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Much goes into staying current, driving a market and growing a firm – especially when you try to achieve all three at the same time. But Purity Soft Drinks is a clear example of a company taking advantage of the above and throwing innovation into the mix. After all, there’s a reason why its displayed a strong growth of +20 per cent each year since 2014.

For example, the government changed school standards for food and drink in September 2015, which proved to be a great opportunity for the brand. And to coincide with the changes, the company launched JUICEBURST SKINNY, which contains less than 99 calories. Its CEO, David Bell, claimed: “We are not afraid to take risks and take on challenges, just look at the Schools Approved range. Our aim is to cut the added-sugar by ten per cent come 2017 and we have just began to produce a multi-pack of our Schools Approved JUICEBURST range for the lunchbox market. Around half of all school meals are taken as a packed lunch, so this represents a good opportunity for us.”

Its growth is also due to a heavy dose of innovation and expansion. It recently acquired Firefly, a soft drink brand, which it plans to transform into a sophisticated non-alcoholic endeavour. JUICEBURST has also been dubbed the world’s first digitally interactive product in the soft drink space  consumers can play games using the Blippar app.

How else is the firm looking to grow though? Bell answered a few questions Real Business had.

What’s your company turnover?

£20m net sales

How many members of staff does the firm employ? 

80

Please give a brief overview of the brand:

Owned by Purity Soft Drinks, JUICEBURST is the UK’s fastest growing juice drink brand. Building on our current retail sales value of £30m the brand is continually looking to innovate to drive the category forward.

The juice drink market is continuing to expand, so how do you ensure JUICEBURST continues to grow?

The juice drink category is ever-changing and at JUICEBURST we’re passionate about being true to the core ingredient  fruit. We insist on cramming at least one full portion of fruit into every JUICEBURST bottle we produce, which is typically four times more than other soft drink products. We plan to keep leading the way in creating a better for you, better tasting and better value juice drink. With consumers becoming more conscious about the products they eat and drink, it’s important we strive to create the best product we can. Continually innovating is key to us driving this category forward and ensuring great taste while reducing our sugar content.

How are you planning to boost the business?

At JUICEBURST, we’re in a very strong position to continue the growth of the business and we’re aiming to double our distribution with another 25,000 stockists in the next three years. Over the last three years, we’ve already invested in a state-of-the-art production line and now we’re looking to benefit from a boost in our marketing, helping propel the business forward. With the category down -6 per cent and all other major brands in decline, JUICEBURST is proven to grow the UK juice and juice drink category, growing a retailer’s overall category sales of juice and juice drinks by at least +20 per cent.

What are your priorities as a business leader?

As a responsible business, we fully embraced the 2015 government guidelines for food and drink sold in schools with the launch of the JUICEBURST 330ml schools range, within 12 weeks of the announcement. It is now stocked in one in three secondary schools across England and this number is increasing by 20 schools per week. Constantly innovating, JUICEBURST has continuously taken sugar out in stages to help consumers get used to a new, less sugary taste profile over time. Some 70 per cent of the JUICEBURST range is already no added sugar and, across the rest of the range, the brand has cut out 40 per cent of the added sugar in the last three years.

As a business leader what are your top tips for businesses looking to grow?

Staying up-to-date with consumer trends is key to growing your business. Knowing what flavours are popular with your target audience will boost innovation, meeting consumers’ needs. For us, it’s also been really important that we’re ready to adapt our practices to comply with latest government regulations. This is advice I’d give to all businesses. Ensuring you’re up-to-date with the latest regulations that affect your sector enables you to adapt quickly, positioning yourself as a leader in your field.

Image: Shutterstock

Meanwhile, only founded in 2011, augmented reality firm Blippar, which injects virtual elements into real world images, has come a long way in a short time. As the winner of an award at our 2014 Growing Business Awards, we talked with co-founder Jess Butcher.

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