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Soft drinks kings of convenience, says Britvic

Britvic Soft Drinks Review 2024

The soft drinks category continues to be a mainstay of the convenience channel, according to the Britvic Soft Drinks Review 2024.

The report found that soft drink sales grew 15.3% to £3.3bn last year, with volumes up by 3.0% and units by 3.3%. Soft drinks is now the most-bought impulse category in convenience, present in just over one in four baskets (26.1%).

Britvic revealed that forecourts are driving growth in the convenience channel, with total sales (of all goods and fuel) growing by 2.8% to £4.6bn in 2023. The report also highlights new opportunities presented by the growing number of electric vehicle owners killing time while their vehicles charge.

However, it appears that forecourt operators are missing out where energy drinks are concerned, as Ben Parker, Retail Commercial Director at Britvic, explained: “Research shows that people are twice as likely to be looking for an energy boost in forecourts than they are when they visit outlets in the wider convenience retail sector.

“Despite this, the number of shoppers who buy energy drinks from forecourts remains surprisingly low, with only 2.1% of forecourt shoppers currently buying them. There’s an opportunity here for the taking.”

More broadly across convenience, stimulant energy delivered growth worth £181.5m last year. It was the second-fastest-growing sub-sector at 23.7%, behind sports drinks which grew at 64.6% and took fifth place in the list of bestselling subcategories in convenience.

Another key trend highlighted in the report is the growing proportion of people buying breakfast while travelling or commuting. In fact, 10% of all food-to-go missions in forecourts are for breakfast (double the number in wider convenience). One-fifth (20%) of food-to-go NPD launched in the first quarter of 2024 was for breakfast.

“It’s promising to see more occasions opening up to convenience retailers, such as breakfast,” said Parker. “It’s now about capitalising on those opportunities, while futureproofing ranges to ensure there is a strong pull for the younger generation of shoppers coming into the channel.”

While soft drinks are identified as the most-bought impulse category in the convenience channel, the report also identified that stores could be doing more to tap into ‘meal for tonight’ occasions. Forecourts specifically are under trading. According to Britvic, shoppers are paying on average £10.44 for a ‘meal for tonight’ with a soft drink but are currently only spending £7.18 on the same occasion in forecourts.

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This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.