MINUTE MAID WARMS TO SHELF-STABLE DRINKS

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With the frozen juice segment melting, Coca-Cola Foods is looking to more temperate areas of the supermarket for growth.

Coca-Cola Foods in March will start its most aggressive new-product marketing effort ever, for shelf-stable Minute Maid Naturals. The six-flavor line represents the company's first major push into the shelf-stable segment.

Simultaneously, Coca-Cola Foods will step up marketing efforts for Minute Maid refrigerated juices, focusing ads on the Premium Choice not-from-concentrate orange juice.

"We're going to spend more money this year than we've ever spent against the Minute Maid brand," said Craig Binkley, director of marketing for Minute Maid orange juice.

That could translate into more than $20 million in advertising, double 1993 spending levels. Media support for Minute Maid juices and juice drinks slid to just $10.7 million for the first three quarters of 1993, according to Competitive Media Reporting. That's down 34% from the $16.2 million spent for the same period in 1992.

Coca-Cola Foods' marketing strategy is "an aggressive push against individual products that give a halo effect to the whole brand," Mr. Binkley said.

A third line getting marketing support will be Minute Maid Juices to Go, a single-serving line distributed by Coca-Cola's powerful soft-drink bottling system.

The Naturals line, packaged in 46- and 64-ounce bottles, "is a major introduction because it allows us to take the trademark into a growth category," said Caryn Crump, general manager of grocery marketing for Coca-Cola Foods.

Support includes print advertising and a TV spot, from Lowe & Partners/SMS New York, that play up the shelf-stable brand's "all-natural" ingredients.

While supermarket sales of frozen juices declined 10% last year, sales of refrigerated juices and drinks remained flat. Only shelf-stable juices and drinks showed any growth, at about 3%, for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 2, according to Nielsen Marketing Research.

Minute Maid is the No. 1 frozen juice, behind private label; it jockeys with Tropicana Products to lead the refrigerated segment.

A TV campaign for Minute Maid Premium Choice will break in late March. The spots will focus on the special selection of Florida oranges used in Premium Choice.

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