The Vimto brand is now worth £54m at retail value in the UK soft drinks arena alone, while sales of Vimto-branded lollies, sweets and other products helped drive an additional £14.4m in sales in 2010.
Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk after parent company Nichols revealed 2010 profits would be “significantly ahead of last year”, Vimto Soft Drinks md Jonathan Bye said UK sales of Vimto soft drinks were up more than 17% last year.
According to Nielsen data, Vimto - based on a blend of fruit juices, herbs and spices launched in 1908 - significantly outperformed leading brands in carbonated soft drinks including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dr Pepper and Irn Bru and the big players in cordials such as Robinsons and Ribena.
About half of the growth was driven by Cherry Vimto, which was launched in January 2010 and has delivered strong incremental revenue ever since, said Bye.
“Cherry Vimto has performed even better than we expected, but we’ve also picked up a lot of new business and broadened listings with existing customers, so where in the past we’d be in a supermarket, now we are also in its express format stores and sandwich chillers at the front of the store.”
Following the success of marketing activity such as the Seriously Mixed Up Fruit campaign, the firm also planned to maintain high levels of investment in multimedia advertising and marketing in 2011, he said.
“We started investing reasonably heavily at the back end of 2008 when a lot of other brands pulled back and we probably got a disproportionate benefit. But we have maintained this and will continue to do so in 2011.”
International sales of Vimto - which is now sold in more than 60 overseas markets - were also very strong in 2010.
In a pre-close trading statement issued on Friday, Nichols said profitability was "significantly ahead of last year and ahead of current market expectations" while sales were "once again well ahead of our internal plans".
AIM-listed Nichols, which is best known for the Sunkist, Panda and Vimto brands, also has a drinks dispensing business that supplies cold soft drinks ‘on draught' into pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Production of Vimto is outsourced.