A bright future for energy drinks

Rockstar range in chiller

In the final part of the SLR InAction+ project with the Rockstar brand, we reflect on the knowledge gained during the project and look to the future of the energy drinks category.


The stimulant drink category increased by +16.9% in the past year, according to the latest data (Nielsen Scantrack, year to 28 August). This growth has largely been driven by sales of 500ml cans, which is becoming the key growth format.

Following the acquisition by PepsiCo of Rockstar Energy last year, Britvic is now responsible for the brand in Great Britain, and the company is working with retailers to drive stimulant drinks sales even further.

To demonstrate the opportunity for further growth within on-the-go soft drinks and the stimulant market in particular, SLR and Britvic joined forces earlier this year to work with Premier retailers Dennis and Linda Williams of Broadway Convenience Store in Oxgangs, Edinburgh. The project aimed to continue the momentum of stimulant drinks as lockdown restrictions eased, and to provide valuable new category insights for Britvic and the store team.

Singles have been on the rise since the country opened up but the legacy of lockdown is continuing to impact further on shopper trends with the continued growth of low sugar and sugar free varieties. “We expect this growth to springboard once HFSS legislation comes into force,” he adds.

“No sugar lines have seen a big uplift, and this is going to be a massive thing going forward,” he says. “Sugar free is definitely a big thing, and we have also seen big growth in multipacks in the last six months.

Multipacks are continuing to grow as a result of changing shopper habits over the lockdown periods, according to Rockstar Brand Manager Adrian Howe. He says: “As many workplaces change to a more hybrid way of working, we expect deferred sales to maintain a stronger share of category.”

As part of the project, Dennis implemented a core range and added some shelf stripping point of sale to the chiller, and has noticed the same trends being played out in his store.

“Pricemarking is also very important. It gives customers confidence in the price and is a real win–win.

“Overall, Rockstar is a strong brand that people are looking for, with a point of difference because of the flavour choice and the price point, and a manageable range for retailers.”

Howe adds: “The stimulant energy category continues to be the driving force in soft drinks growth. We expect this to continue as brands such as Rockstar look to become more accessible to a wider audience through product innovation and compelling and relevant activation.”

He concludes: “We are looking forward to supporting retailers in Scotland by sharing this insight and key learnings so they too can increase their stimulant sales.”

Project conclusions
  • Stimulant/energy drinks continue to perform strongly
  • Multipacks growth during lockdown has continued
  • 500ml cans are driving growth in recent weeks
  • Price points/price-marking is important
  • Sugar-free lines are taking an increased share