Soft Drinks: Soft Commodities

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Which softs will sell in the year ahead? Here, selection of soft drinks brand owners give us their views on how the market might look in 2008, as...

Which softs will sell in the year ahead? Here, selection of soft drinks brand owners give us their views on how the market might look in 2008, as well as some insight into new product development.Juicing the marketSoft drinks giant Britvic has some big, ambitious plans for 2008, with the focus very much on the on-trade. The company has just revamped its premium juice range, changing the name from the Pressed and Squeezed range to simply 'OJ' (orange juice) and 'AJ' (apple juice), as a spokeswoman confirms.

"OJ and AJ is a premium juice offering which is ambient and fresh," she says. "When most bars buy their juice they only have one day or so from opening the product to sell it."

This is as fresh as fresh juice but has a shelf life of six months as opposed to a week. So there is a no chilled supply chain. This results in higher margins, less wastage and therefore higher revenues. It is already listed on breakfast menus in chains such as Wetherspoon and Regent Inns."

The company is also looking to major on pomegranate in the coming year. Britivic says it is the first brand owner to launch the juice in a single-serve format, either in 200ml (for single serves) or 125 ml (for mixing with spirits) bottles.

"Across the trade pomegranate is served from tetra packs, which makes it less fresh," says the spokeswoman. "The product is very versatile and goes brilliantly with white spirits."

The company will look to hook the marketing on pomegranate's status as a super fruit, and therefore as a 'super mixer'.

Cocktails and mocktails are being pushed over Christmas using Britvic's J2O brand. A lot of work has been done with in-bar point-of-sale - such as cocktail and mocktail menus.

"J2O can be drunk in a number of ways - it can be used to break up a session and as a pick-me-up," adds the spokeswoman. "Obviously it is very important as part of the repertoire for designated drivers.

"The trade is now coming to us asking us to reinvigorate the soft drinks category.

"Spirits sales are down and so something is needed to spice up the soft drinks offer."

Capitalise on the trends

Moving through the Christmas and new year period and beyond, soft drinks brand Shloer is urging the on-trade to consider non-drinkers, designated drivers and those who express a preference for non-alcoholic beverages when reviewing the range of soft drinks they offer.

Mike Coppard, managing director of Shloer, says: "With Christmas being one of the most lucrative times of year for sales, coupled with annual drink-driving campaigns and a growing consumer demand for product variety, there is a real opportunity for the licensed trade to capitalise on sales of alcohol alternatives by offering customers a greater range and depth of choice at the bar."

Mike adds: "The changing demographic of pub-goers following the smoking ban and improvements in food offerings means consumers are making more informed brand choices and seeking products that are better for them. "Shloer fits this bill particularly well."

To support licensees and help them drive sales in the run-up to Christmas and into 2008, Shloer has produced a range of point-of-sale materials, designed to appeal to women aged 25 to 35, including branded beermats, posters, bottle holders for back-bar displays, tent cards and bar mats.

Investing in the on-trade

Paul Grace, head of on-trade marketing at Coca-Cola Enterprises, says: "We remain committed to investing in the GB on-trade in 2008 and we're looking forward to an exciting year for both licensees and Coca-Cola. Our level of investment in the on-trade will grow versus 2007 and we will continue to support our most recent on-trade launches of Peartiser, Oasis and the Schweppes adult soft drink range.

"We are also committed to supporting our brands with increased investment in both advertising and outlet support through our sales force crossing thousands of doors every month to talk directly to licensees to help them grow their soft drink sales.

"The iconic glass Coca-Cola bottle will enjoy some specific activity as demand for the original glass bottle continues to grow."

The Red Bull Company is also planning to step up its marketing in 2008. Red Bull channel manager Alex Minett says: "Red Bull aspires to create truly unique marketing activities. Every year we invest in a huge worldwide marketing support programme designed to keep the brand fresh and ahead of the market.

"Next year Red Bull will spend £24m on marketing in the UK. Innovative events such as the Red Bull Air Race have helped maintain high impact consumer recognition and a strong desire to purchase."

Related topics Soft & Hot Drinks

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