The energy drinks category is evolving in line with new shopper needs.
By Gaelle Walker
Fast becoming the superheroes of the soft drinks fixture, Sports and Energy drinks are not just helping to the fuel the minds and bodies of Scottish shoppers, but also store sales too.
In fact, according to hot-off-the-press findings from Britvic’s latest Soft Drinks Review, energy drinks became “the fastest growing and biggest category in convenience” in 2021, with sales growing by 21% and increasing in value by £116m, as shopper demand for ‘pick-me-ups’ increased.
The Red Bull Brand in particular has racked-up significant gains in the past year, growing by £85.6m in the 12 months to February 2022 vs the same period a year before – driven by shoppers’ need for a “more physical energy than ever,” along with a number of key new requirements, namely: enjoyment, practicality and health.
As such, within Sports and Energy, functional products and stimulants were the biggest winners in 2021, as Chris Newman, Head of Category Management for Convenience and Impulse at Britvic, explains: “Stimulants energy was one of the real winners in 2021.
“This category also represents a strong trade-up opportunity for the convenience channel, with approximately two times higher average price per litre than the soft drinks average.
“Stimulant brands are taking advantage of this opportunity by providing more choice and flavours to consumers.”
In this spirit of offering shoppers more choice, Barr Soft Drinks also extended its Rubicon Raw brand earlier this year with a new Apple & Guava flavour.
Offering consumers a combination of 20% real fruit juice, caffeine from green coffee beans and B-vitamins, the “exciting” new flavour proposition is available in plain packs, £1.29 PMPs and a new 4x500ml multipack.
And in a further bid to increase that all-important consumer choice, Britvic has also recently reduced the sugar content of its core Rockstar range.
“When it comes to energy drinks, 44% of non-buyers state the reason they don’t buy into the category is that they contain too much sugar, Britvic’s Out Of Home Commercial Director Phil Sanders says.
“Through this move, we are aiming to encourage continued growth within the category by energising those health-conscious consumers and meeting even more energy needs.
The booming popularity of Low-Calorie stimulation drinks also prompted an extension of the Lucozade Alert brand with new Lucozade Alert Original earlier this year.
Red Bull is also keen to stress the size of the Sugar Free opportunity for retailers.
“For a long time now, sugar has played a key role in the Sports & Energy category as consumers increasingly pick up Sugar Free and Zero formats that appeal to the more health-conscious shopper,” Red Bull says.
“Sugar Free variants have been growing penetration by 48.8% and, in independent markets, Low or No Sugar variants have seen faster growth than Full Sugar, with 21.8% growth vs Full Sugar’s 16.9%.”
Red Bull says that 35-year-old affluent females are the most common Red Bull Sugar Free shopper profile – “signalling demand for low-sugar alternatives amongst feminine shoppers looking for a functional boost during their day.”
Tapping into the trend, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) recently announced the launch of a new Relentless Zero Sugar range in new Peach and Raspberry flavours.
Relentless Zero Sugar Peach and Relentless Zero Sugar Raspberry are available now in “eye-catching” white and pink/peach can designs which also retain the Relentless ‘R’ motif.
The new range and refreshed can design gives Relentless a “perfect opportunity to drive its #WithoutLimits brand positioning and widen its appeal amongst young adult fans,” CCEP says.
The launch is being supported by an integrated campaign including digital, PR, and influencer activities.
Retailers will also be able to get their mitts on new point-of-sale materials, including shelf strips, totems, wobblers and free-standing display units to drive excitement in-store from June.
The news follows CCEP’s launch of the Zero Sugar pineapple-flavoured Monster Ultra Gold and Monster Khaotic in the spring.
Available now in both plain and price-marked 500ml packs, both brands are also supported with an array of POS to help retailers “drive excitement in-store.”