Monday 16 July 2018

Donohoe's Budget a sweet deal for growing drinks-maker Vit Hit

 

Former rugby professional Gary Lavin founded Vit Hit after watching frustrated gym-goers down sugar heavy drinks after tough exercise routines
Former rugby professional Gary Lavin founded Vit Hit after watching frustrated gym-goers down sugar heavy drinks after tough exercise routines

Fearghal O'Connor

Minister Paschal Donohue's new sugar tax may have taken the fizz from many drinks-makers but at least one Irish manufacturer is celebrating.

Low-calorie vitamin drink firm Vit Hit, founded by former rugby professional Gary Lavin, has benefited from similar moves elsewhere. The drinks contain just 1.3 grams of sugar per 100ml, well below Donohoe's 8g limit.

The company is already predicting a sales boost of at least 40pc next year on the back of major international expansion after it won a number of big distribution deals in recent weeks.

Vit Hit has a turnover of approximately €8m and this is expected to rise to €12m next year, Lavin told this newspaper.

A new deal with WH Smith will see Vit Hit available at 15 UK airports. It has also agreed new distribution deals for 300 stores in Finland, 1,200 stores in the Netherlands and 2,000 stores in South Africa. Walmart is to expand a trial US distribution from seven to 30 stores.

An imminent sugar tax in the UK has led to a big upsurge in interest from distributors there, said Lavin.

"We are actually the fastest-growing health drink in Sainsbury's with organic growth there last year of 35pc. We hope to be the market leader in the UK in this segment in the next 24 months."

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