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.
» CLICK ON the comments link to tell us your Beep story or to share any Beep recipes
» Beep fans Facebook group
» Beep lover's blog
» Tell Farmer's how much you love(d) Beep
» 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.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
End of the road for BEEP
Article about the demise of BEEP in the Chronicle Herald.