Pret retires its blended drinks – but did the move meaningfully affect its brand health?
March 14th, 2023, Stephan Shakespeare

Pret retires its blended drinks – but did the move meaningfully affect its brand health?

On 21 February, Pret A Manger announced that it was phasing out blended drinks such as smoothies, frappes, and milkshakes in favour of iced drinks. According to The Mirror, it’s a move that dealt “a blow to customers”, with some complaining that it devalues their £25-a-month subscription on social media.

But data from YouGov BrandIndex UK suggests that the public aren’t overly fussed. Looking at 20 February – the day before Pret announced the changes – and 5 March shows that, while Buzz scores (which track whether consumers have heard anything positive or negative about a brand in the past fortnight) saw a slight dip of 2.2 points (halving from 3.4 to 1.2), other measures didn’t see much more in terms of movement.

Impression, for example, which measures overall sentiment, went from 16.0 to 16.6 over this period (dipping to 10.2 on 27 February but quickly rebounding). It might be natural to assume that Value for Money scores would decline, given that blended drinks will no longer be available at Pret locations nationwide, but they actually saw an increase, jumping from -5.0 to -1.3 (+3.7). Purchase Intent declined from 6.6 to 6.0 (-0.6) and Recommendations were nudged down by nearly a point from 12.1 to 11.2 (-0.9), but overall the impact appears to have been minimal. It may well have been mitigated by the good headlines Pret is receiving for giving its staff a pay rise.

But while removing the items may have been reported as a problem for customers, the general impact on Pret’s public perception appears to be negligible. Index scores, which measure overall brand health, went from 12.0 to 12.8 (+0.8), while customer satisfaction metrics saw negligible movement (falling -0.2 points from 16.6 to 16.4). If making milkshakes, smoothies, and frappes is as expensive as some anonymous Pret workers suggest, and if customers aren’t too bothered about it either way, then it could add up to an easy win for the chain.

This article originally appeared in City A.M.