Energy drinks are enjoying a sales boom in Scotland just now, and there are plenty of products and pack formats to help retailers get their range right.
By Elena Dimama
The sports and energy drinks segment has grown in popularity in recent years and has become a crucial category for independent retailers.
According to Nielsen, the sector is worth more than £1.6bn, and soft drinks remain resilient despite the current challenges on shoppers’ household income.
For independent retailers in particular, energy drinks have never been more important, with over one-in-three soft drinks sold in convenience stores an energy drink, according to IRI Marketplace. Scottish retailers, specifically, have enjoyed a recent boom in soft drink sales, up 8.7% in value, according to Nielsen for the week ending 24 December 2022, with sports and energy drinks up 10.7%.
Flavoured energy accounts for over half of all volumes sold, according to Retailer Shopper Data, with 85% of shoppers of energy drinks only buying branded products, protecting the category against the wider move to own-label.
“Flavours are key to helping drive the growth of sports and energy,” Red Bull tells SLR, “and the area which sees the most innovation as shoppers look for variety and hydration, particularly during the summer months.
“As a result, flavoured sports & energy drinks are up +21.9% YoY vs unflavoured at +10.7%, with tropical flavours a core opportunity, growing 22.5% vs mainstream flavours at 14.5%.”
Red Bull is outperforming total flavoured sports and energy by four times, at 92%, according to Nielsen Scantrack.
Low sugar drive
Meanwhile, Coca Cola Europacific Partners’ (CCEP) Monster brand has added over £75m of value in the past year alone, according to Nielsen, with the Monster Juiced range growing by 27% year-on-year.
“Zero sugar is a key driver of growth in energy, with Monster’s zero sugar Ultra the no.1 zero sugar energy brand in GB, highlighting shopper demand for great tasting products and zero sugar options,” Amy Burgess, Senior Trade Communications Manager at CCEP notes.
“Last year we added Monster Ultra Gold to our portfolio, which blends a juicy pineapple taste with the renowned Monster energy blend, giving consumers a delicious, refreshing energy boost with no calories and sugar. We also have our Relentless Zero Sugar range, which includes two flavours, Peach and Raspberry, which boast a light and refreshing energy blend without sugar,” she adds.
Lucozade is also seeing the low- and no-calorie segment continuing to outperform regular soft drinks, with sugar-free carbonates having grown by over 5% in the last year, according to Nielsen. “We’ve been seeing a long-term trend towards drinks with lower sugar, with 57% of shoppers making or considering diet changes to make healthier choices,” Matt Gouldsmith, Channel Director, Wholesale, Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, says. “We advise retailers to stock up on lower-sugar drinks such as Lucozade Zero, which is seeing recent growth of 25%, to make the most of this ongoing trend.”
Healthier lifestyles continue to be an ongoing trend for shoppers who are increasingly looking for food and drink with functional qualities to help them achieve maximum results during sports or workouts. “This has meant the performance energy drinks segment has grown in popularity. Healthier Choices is another key growth driver in our Refresh Tomorrow soft drinks category vision, which identifies an opportunity to drive additional sales growth over the next three years,” Burgess explains.
Meanwhile, data from SBF GB&I has revealed that 75% of adults have reported concerns about tiredness, and caffeine energy drinks can help retailers tap into that trend. Lucozade Alert is one example, having invested in a new 500ml can design across all three flavours. “The brand has amassed a worth of £8.1 million in value sales since launch and is continuing to grow,” Gouldsmith says.
In addition, CCEP’s Reign Total Body Fuel has had its recipe enriched with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), and vitamins B3, B6 and B12. “Reign Total Body Fuel is leading the way in the burgeoning functional energy drinks space, accounting for more than half of the value of this subsector and enjoying 16% growth, firmly cementing its no.1 performance energy drink status in GB,” Burgess adds.
Summers have traditionally helped sales of soft drinks, with last year being a case in point. “Red Bull occasions are elevated over the summer period compared to winter with the brand’s share of consumption within Sports & Energy increasing to 13.6% vs 8.9% in the previous period,” the brand says. “Last year, this led to a brand growth of 17% YoY, adding £16.3m in value vs the previous summer,” it adds.
Big can energy
Big can formats can also play a key role in the category, delivering against many consumer needs, according to Adrian Troy, Marketing Director at AG Barr.
“Shoppers see it as better value, the range of flavours in Big Can cater for those looking for taste and refreshment and the bigger the can, the bigger the boost,” he notes. The company’s Rubicon Raw is available as a 500ml can alongside the Irn-Bru Energy 500ml can to provide shoppers with more flavour choices.
Red Bull is also focusing on can size, with Red Bull Energy being available in three different sizes – 250ml, 355ml and 473ml.
“Red Bull Energy Drink 250ml is ideal for on-the-go consumption, with 50% of 250ml shoppers drinking the can immediately after purchase,” Red Bull says. “Whereas, one-in-three Red Bull shoppers are likely to consume the larger cans later in the day, with Red Bull Energy Drink 355ml linked to gaming, studying, and socialising, and Red Bull Energy Drink 473ml being the can of choice for all meal occasions, making it ideal for a meal deal offering.”