Massive £2.6bn soft-drinks sales opportunity

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Not so soft: sales are on the up for soft drinks
Not so soft: sales are on the up for soft drinks
Pubs will be able to take their share of a £2.6bn soft-drinks sales opportunity identified in supplier Britvic’s annual Soft Drinks Report.

Britvic revealed the considerable potential on the release of its report yesterday (21 March) as part of its new Drink Differently​ category vision, which aims to arm on-trade and off-trade retailers with information to boost sales.

Soft drinks are already worth a whopping £14bn and are consumed on average twice a day in the UK, but only feature in one of three beverage occasions daily.

There are five key growth areas operators can tap into to grow their sales, according to Britvic, which are:

  • Created for kids: Tasty, healthy and exciting soft drinks which are loved by kids and trusted by parents.
  • Especially for adults: Motivate more adults to choose soft drinks, becoming their preferred choice on more occasions
  • Inspired lifestyle choices: Nudge the nation towards positive drinks choices, every day
  • Elevated food moments: Elevate every food moment with the perfect soft drink partnerships
  • Sensational social experiences: Create sensational social experiences re-defining the possibilities for soft drinks

‘Consumer landscape’

Britvic commercial operations director John Campbell said: “The consumer landscape and the way people live their lives is fundamentally changing and now is the time for the category to evolve.

“Soft drinks must adapt in order to maintain, but also grow, their relevancy amongst consumers.”

The category is worth £64.6m to the hospitality sector (pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels) in value terms, with sales up 1.2% across 162,000 outlets, according to the soft drinks report.

In pubs and bars, soft drinks are worth £10.4bn in managed, branded and franchised sites; £7.7bn to independent and free-of-tie sites; and £3.83bn to tenanted and leased venues.

The total value to the pubs and bars sector is £22.1bn, which has grown by 1.5% in the past year.

Softs see a greater uplift over key occasions, such as Mother’s Day (83%), Father’s Day (81%), Easter (20%) and May Day (41%).

A key driver of soft drinks sales is their look, with 83% of those asked saying they would “be inspired to order a sensationally served drink if they saw it at another table”, according to the report.

Meanwhile, almost two-thirds (63%) of consumers said they would be willing to try a different drink if it was displayed prominently.

Soft drinks experts

A big change, long predicted by soft-drinks experts, is the rise of low- and no-sugar soft drinks, with 30% of spend in the foodservice sector coming from such products.

Britvic GB commercial director for foodservice and licensed sectors Russell Goldman said: “2017 saw a fantastic performance for the soft-drinks category within the foodservice channel.

"We know how competitive it is out there for outlets, particularly in the licensed channel, so focusing on getting their soft drinks offer right should be a big area of focus and at Britvic we are working hard to help our customers drive profit through their soft-drinks sales.”

He added: “We believe that the combination of our category insights, broad catalogue of brands and investment in innovation and marketing, perfectly places us to help customers win.

“By getting their soft drinks range right, tailoring it to their customer’s specific needs and creating premium experiences with sensational drinks, operators can grow their profits through the soft drinks category.”

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