Saturday, March 6, 2010

End of the road for BEEP

Article about the demise of BEEP in the Chronicle Herald.

End of the road for Beep drink --

BRACE YOURSELVES, Beep lovers. This is not good news.

To the disappointment of sugar-charged fruit-drink lovers everywhere, the people at Farmers Co-Operative Dairy Ltd. in Bedford confirmed Friday they are indeed proceeding with plans to discontinue Beep fruit drink.

"It is sort of a sad day. Lots of people are nostalgic about the drink. Lots of us here at Farmers are very sad to see it go," Derek Estabrook, vice-president of marketing and business development, said in an interview.

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» 1964 Life magazine ad for Beep (via beepjuice.blogspot.com)

The co-operative announced the demise of Beep with a modest statement on its website Tuesday, and within hours bloggers from coast-to-coast were waxing nostalgic about the loss.

"It is a product lots of people like to talk about, but sales have declined to a trickle of what they were in the ’60s, when Beep was a staple of many children’s lunch boxes from one end of the province to the other," said Estabrook.

An advisory on the co-operative’s website notes Beep will start disappearing from store shelves over the next few weeks.

"So if Beep has a special place in your heart, pick up a carton soon," it states.

Farmers did not want to release sales figures, except to say in recent years they have not been good.

"We would not discontinue the brand if it was selling," said Estabrook.

As far as can be determined, Nova Scotia is the last jurisdiction in North America where Beep was available in recent years.

Estabrook said most consumer inquiries about the Beep discontinuation have come from outside the province, where it is no longer available.

Beep fruit drink was sold under licence in previous decades by dairies just about everywhere. It was introduced in Nova Scotia by Farmers in 1961, but sales have been in steady decline for at least 20 years.

"These days, consumers can get fresh juice from Florida for a few bucks for a couple of litres. In the past 15 years, the market has gone through a total transformation," said Estabrook.

Although the co-operative is dropping Beep, sales in other categories are strong.

Estabrook said the decision to discontinue Beep was linked to a major overhaul of the co-operative’s packaging operations.

"We are installing new carton fillers in our packaging line that will increase efficiency and capacity for the long term," he said.

Beep sales were not significant enough to warrant including the product in the packaging overhaul.

Beep comes in colourful one-litre and single-serving containers.

A combination of reconstituted fruit juices comprises 25 per cent of the product.

Here is the ingredients list: water, sugar, concentrated orange juice, concentrated apple juice, apricot puree, citric acid, prune syrup, orange pulp, modified corn starch, canola oil, flavour, sodium citrate, colour, sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid.

Halifax nutritionist Irene Healy-Vihant muttered an audible sigh of relief when informed Beep was to be discontinued.

"Bye-bye Beep. Glad to see you go. That’s what I have to say," she said.

Healy-Vihant suggested one reason the co-operative is discontinuing the brand is school boards across the province have instituted healthy eating programs and banned the drink.

Bridgewater blogger Matt Dagley and a friend recently added some Beep video to his Deathboxproductions.com website, and must now make a new post lamenting the demise of the fruit drink.

"This is terrible. I love Beep. When people visit from other parts of Canada we always get some Beep because nobody outside of Nova Scotia seems to sell it," said Dagley.

2 comments:

  1. I drank BEEP as a kid in the 1950s - 1960s in Minneapolis, MN. I seem to remember it was a combination of 5 ( 7 ? ) fruit juices, including pineapple, orange, and PRUNE. It had a smooth, thick consistency, and did not taste particularly acid. I seem to recall the TV commercials here made a big deal about how many juices were in it. Granted, it still could have been mostly sugar and water, but the consistency wasn't watery, and this was in the days before high fructose corn syrup.

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