Britvic withdraws batches of Ballygowan drink from sale

Britvic withdraws batches of Ballygowan drink from sale

BRITVIC IRELAND has withdrawn two batches of its Ballygowan products from sale across the island of Ireland.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland and the British Food Standards Agency have said that due to an “off odour” in a small number of drinks, batches of two specific products were withdrawn from sale.

The products in question are 750ml plastic bottles of still Ballygowan water and 1 litre bottles of still Ballygowan sports water.

The withdrawal does not apply to the rest of the UK, the Food Standards Agency said yesterday.

“This is a precautionary measure to ensure consumers enjoy Ballygowan at its best,” Britvic Ireland said yesterday in a statement.

“Of over 12 million bottles produced by Ballygowan since May, less than 2,000 bottles have been uplifted from the market. The likelihood of this recalled product having an off-odour is 0.003 per cent.”

Earlier this year, UK-listed company Britvic, which owns the Ballygowan brand, embarked on a mass recall of one of its key products, Robinsons Fruit Shoot. The popular children’s drinks was recalled in the UK and France due to damaged bottle tops.

The recall could cost Britvic up to £25 million, the company said in July, as it issued a profit warning.

Earlier this year Ballygowan embarked on an €850,000 marketing campaign to relaunch the 30-year-old brand which has seen its market share suffer in recent years. The investment also involved a modern redesign of the brand.

Ballygowan is one of a number of Irish brands, including Club, which is owned by Britvic Ireland. Britvic, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, acquired the portfolio of soft drinks from Irish drinks producer CC in 2007, for €249.2 million.

While Ballygowan is still the number one bottled water brand in the Republic of Ireland, it has been losing ground in the retail channel in particular to brands such as Volvic and the private label market.

Like all consumer foods it is also battling with a weak consumer market generally.

Ballygowan also has a leading position in the pub trade and water cooler market, having acquired Aquaporte, the brand leader in the Irish water cooler market, in 1995.

Britvic employs around 550 people in Ireland, having reduced its headcount over the last year or so.

The product is still sourced and bottled by the company at Newcastle West in Co Limerick.

The most recent results from Britvic show that revenue at the company’s Irish division fell by 11.1 per cent in its third quarter due to lower volumes and prices. The soft drinks maker said volumes were down 7.6 per cent, while the average realised price for products declined by 4.2 per cent.

Britvic plc had revenues of £1.3 billion in its 2011 financial year and posted pre-tax profits of £105 million. While its British, French and international divisions delivered positive volume and revenue growth, its Irish business weighed on profits.