February 16, 2011 / 9:10 PM / 7 years ago

Tropicana orange juice in bottles: a shot at Coke

NEW YORK (Reuters) - PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N) will sell its Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice in clear bottles, not the familiar coated-paper cartons, as it tries to take back market share from the Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) brand Simply Orange.

Tropicana, the largest U.S. orange juice brand, said on Wednesday that clear plastic bottles will replace most of the cartons it has long sold bearing a picture of an orange with a straw stuck in it.

It is “a natural step” after the company got a positive response selling its lower-calorie Trop50 juice in clear bottles, Tropicana spokeswoman Gina Judge said.

News of the packaging change was first reported by Beverage Digest, which quoted Massimo d‘Amore, chief executive of PepsiCo Beverages Americas, as saying the change “will generate a lift in volume.”

The industry newsletter said Coke’s Simply Orange has been making inroads against Tropicana.

This is not the first change to Tropicana’s packaging.

Last year, it trimmed the size of its cartons to 59 ounces from 64 ounces to offset higher costs.

In 2009, the company replaced the orange and straw logo with a glass of orange juice, but quickly brought back the old logo after sales plunged.

Tropicana holds 28.2 percent of the market for orange juice and orange juice blends sold in supermarkets, but its volume fell 9 percent last year, Beverage Digest said. Simply Orange holds a 13.9 percent share, but volume rose 11 percent, Beverage Digest reported.

Coke and Pepsi are involved in a lawsuit regarding claims by Coke of an alleged similarity between the packaging for Trop50 and Simply Orange.

A Coke spokesman declined to comment on Pepsi’s repackaging.

Pepsi shares closed down 39 cents at $63.96 on the New York Stock Exchange, while Coke shares were up 18 cents at $63.40.

Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Gary Hill

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