Stock soft to see sales rocket

soft drinks

With the sun just refusing to away, it’s critical that retailers stock – and stay in stock – the most important lines soft drinks lines that will drive sales and profits this summer.


With the thermometer steadfastly refusing to fall below ‘scorchio’ this summer, it’s vital that retailers stay on top the key soft drinks lines that will drive sales this summer. The hot weather keeps bringing shoppers back to the chiller time and again.

Amy Burgess, Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), advises: “Soft drinks present a huge sales opportunity for retailers as consumers look to refresh and rehydrate, whether they’re on-the-go, have their feet up at home, or are planning to host a party or family gathering.

“Offering a wide choice of different products, including a range of flavours and variants, as well as pack formats, is the key to making the most of soft drinks sales.

“Especially important is keeping a wide selection of low or zero sugar drinks, and retailers should constantly review their soft drinks range as manufacturers innovate new lighter options to meet rising consumer demand for healthier options.”

Among the king of must stock lines is Coca-Cola. Millennials consume around 65% of flavoured carbonates in GB [Nielsen, Jan 2018] and in particular, flavoured colas. The flavoured cola segment is increasingly popular and is currently growing by 20% YOY [Nielsen, Aug 2017].

That’s why CCEP introduced new flavours for Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. They have been designed to help retailers tap into the growing popularity of light colas, which are worth £915.5m and the growing consumer trend for unique, interesting options.

Some 4.7 million households in Great Britain buy flavoured colas and the category brings 340,000 incremental shoppers to the cola segment every year[  Kantar, Aug 207]

Exotic Mango and Feisty Cherry have joined the Diet Coke portfolio while Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Peach follows the success of the Cherry and Vanilla variants launched in 2017 and is the first product to be available in a new  red can design that celebrates the iconicity of the Coca-Cola brand.

Also new and worth keeping an eye on from CCEP is Sprite Lemon Lime and Cucumber No Sugar, complete with a new design for the entire Sprite brand.

Fuze Tea is another new launch from CCEP,  a premium, low-calorie blend of fruits, botanicals and tea. The iced tea market in GB has seen a popularity boost over the past 20 years and has grown by £6m in the past year alone [Nielsen, Jun 2017]. Oasis Aquashock has been introduced to capitalise on the growth of flavoured waters and is available in two ‘contrasting flavours’: ‘hot’ Oasis Aquashock Spicy Raspberry variant flavoured with fiery chilli, and a Chilled Cherry variant that contains cooling, tangy lime.

The other set of must stocks in the soft drinks category come from Barr Soft Drinks. Adrian Troy, Marketing Director at Barr Soft Drinks, says: “Soft drinks continues to be one of the most profitable categories for convenience retailers, worth £2.2bn and growing at 2.7% [IRI, Feb 2018].

“From June to August shoppers consume 26% more soft drinks, with Water, Fruit Drinks and Other Flavoured Carbonates seeing the most benefit.  Retailers who adapt their ranges to reflect this range, particularly in the chiller, will benefit significantly.

Troy encourages retailers to stock all three Irn-Bru variants as well as the Barr family range, the Rubicon range, Strathmore water and the huge Rockstar energy range to capitalise.

CCEP’s Monster brand is another must stock in energy with particular growth coming from the low or zero sugar variants. The Monster Energy Ultra range, which offers four fruit flavours with zero sugar, has seen a growth of over 112% in the last year [Nielsen, Sep 2017]], highlighting increasing consumer demand.

To build on this success CCEP has added a fifth variant to the Ultra family: Monster Ultra Violet. With its crisp, citrus grape flavour and zero-sugar credentials it is designed to appeal to millennials looking for a sugar-free energy kick that tastes great. Monster Energy Ultra Violet is Soft Drinks Tax exempt, as is the full Monster Ultra range.

Carol Saunders, Head of Customer Marketing, Highland Spring Group, comments: “Sales of plain bottled water in retail packs increased by 8% in 2017 to over 3,100 million litres, according to the 2018 UK annual bottled water report published by global food and drink experts, Zenith. Volumes grew on both still and sparkling water with sales up 8.7% and 5.1% respectively. In 2018, Highland Spring regained its title as the no.1 plain water brand in the UK (Zenith Bottled Water Report, 2018).

“In Scotland Highland Spring is the no.1 plain bottled water brand and bigger than the next two brands combined. One in every four litres of bottled water sold in Scotland is Highland Spring.

Saunders says Highland Spring saw YOY value growth of 13%, compared to other key plain water brands Evian, Buxton and Volvic, which are all in decline at -9.3%, -20.1% and .-04% respectively (IRI Scotland 52, w/e 26.05.18).