A leading brands expert has slammed Ready-To-Drink (RTD) brand owners and told them to look at themselves for the decline in the market.
Last week Mintel published research that showed RTD sales in the UK had fallen by 22 per cent in the last three years. Many brand owners have cited the 2002 increase in duty and a media backlash against RTDs as the reasons behind this fall.
But Stuart Whitwell, joint managing director of branding experts Intangible Business disagrees saying that brands such as Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Breezer, WKD and Vodka Kick have simply not kept up with the times.
"The decline of RTD's can not be attributed to pricing and legislation issues alone, but to not evolving the product brand attributes in line with the changing needs and values of the fickle 18-24 consumer group," he said.
He believes the tastes of people who drank RTDs in their droves over the last ten years have moved on and that the brand owners have done nothing to interest the newer batch of drinkers.
"The challenge now is firstly to attract the new 18-24 generation with product innovation and reengage the original, more mature market. Authentic, innovative brands that differentiate themselves will be the success stories," said Mr Whitwell.