Category update

Soft drinks are on the up

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Health: consumer trends have helped soft drinks rise
Health: consumer trends have helped soft drinks rise

Related tags Soft drinks Soft drink Cga

The soft drinks category has seen a rise in volume and value according to statistics from CGA Strategy.

Volume has risen by 0.4% according to CGA’s moving annual total (MAT), leading up to 31 December 2016 and value has increased by 2.8%.

CGA Strategy commercial director Graeme Loudon outlined the figures and explained which direction they are heading.

He said: “The total soft drinks category is in growth, with a value growth of 2.8% v MAT a year ago (YA) showing that consumers are continuing to migrate towards more premium offerings within the soft drinks market.

“The value growth of packaged mixers (15.2% v MAT YA) emphasises this premiumisation, as consumers are pairing premium spirits with equal quality mixers.”

He cited a rising heath trend among consumers as a significant factor affecting the soft drinks market and contributing to the growth of the category.

Loudon added: “This is emphasised by the growth of draught cola, which has seen the second largest actual volume growth over the MAT (second to packaged mixers).

“This cola growth is being driven by low-calorie options, which have experienced a 4.4% volume growth and 4.9% value growth over the period, highlighting the move away from full sugar options.

“While low-calorie cola volume is growing at a much faster rate than full sugar (4.4% v 0.3%), low-calorie cola’s value only slightly outperforms full sugar cola (4.9% v 3.3%), showing that full sugar cola is premising at a much more rapid rate. “

Demand for healthier options

Cola isn’t the only product to be affected by consumers’ continuing demand for healthier options.

Loudon said: “The health trend is also stressed by the growth of the pure juice category, which has seen a 6.1% value increase over the MAT, as consumers search for healthier soft drinks options.

“This can also be attributed to the development of the cocktail market, with many cocktails containing a variety of pure fruit juices.”

Great British Pub Awards winner the Doctor’s Orders in Sheffield has a predominantly student-based market and has seen the effect of health on its customers and what they drink.

General manager Liam Gaynor said: “We get a lot of lime and soda or blackcurrent and soda because they are a treat for students and bottles tend to be a little too expensive for them.

“Around 10-15% of our sales are soft drinks and I think more people are drinking them now than ever.

“More people are becoming health conscious about not drinking alcohol, which means they need a replacement which has to be soft.”

Lime soda has surged

New World Trading Company head of bars Nick Whitby highlighted the emerging products that he has seen rise.

He said: “There has been a massive upsurge in lime soda abut also consumers are going towards more mature flavours of soft drinks​ such as lemongrass and ginger cordials.

“This has happened over the past 12 months and has led into cocktails.”

However, he puts the growth of the soft drinks category down to pubs and bars rather than consumer trends.

Whitby added: “Pubs and bars are improving their soft drinks offer so there’s more than just orange cordial on the back bar now.”

He advised operators to keep things simple when it comes to keeping their soft drinks modern and fresh.

“Don’t over complicate things. Offer a good range in the spectrum with a good-quality brand or brands but make it accessible and don’t confuse your guests.”

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