Thirst for soft drinks continues, says latest Britvic report

In tough economic times, sales of soft drinks have demonstrated their continued resilience – grow to £9.7 billion (€11.6bn), according to the 2012 Britvic Soft Drinks Report.
Key findings from the report, based on independent Nielsen and CGA market data, reveal that take-home sales were up seven per cent in value and one per cent in volume, with the top three suppliers – Britvic, CCE and GSK – accounting for almost half of the total take-home market. Almost 50 per cent of the take-home soft drinks total value belonged to the top ten brands. And the first and second positions in the table, occupied by Coca-Cola and Pepsi, remained unchallenged
Cola, pure juice and energy drinks maintained their respective positions as the top three sub-categories in value terms.
“Consumers continued to face an extremely tough time in 2011, meaning they were careful with their spending and looking for great deals,” says Murray Harris, customer management director. “However, the growth of the soft drinks category demonstrates that they are considered an affordable treat, supported by suppliers continuing to innovate throughout the year, driving interest and trial among consumers.
“Instead of sticking with one retailer, shoppers used a variety of grocery outlets, with the impulse channel matching the grocery multiple channel’s value growth of 7 per cent for take-home soft drinks. Online sales increased by 12 per cent last year, too.”
The nation’s love affair with cola continued as it remained the number one soft drink, and increased its value by eight per cent to £1.5 billion (€1.8bn).

Meanwhile, soft drinks remained an important part of the on-premise mix, the second highest category in volume terms and the third largest by value after beer and spirits.

Together, Britvic and CCE accounted for almost 80 per cent of the soft drinks on-premise market, by both value and volume. Pepsi was the number one brand, with eight per cent value growth, followed by Coca-Cola with 11 per cent value growth.

However, overall, soft drinks sales in on-premise continued to be affected by a number of significant issues impacting on the channel, including rises in VAT and alcohol duty, with growing concerns about the economy and job security all putting further pressure on disposable income.
“Consumers continued to face an extremely tough time in 2011, meaning they were careful with their spending and often opted for ‘big nights in’ at home,” adds Harris. “The on-premise trade reacted to this by offering money-off vouchers to attract business. Food and family orientated pubs developed strong meal deals and themed nights to tempt people out of their homes
“While the soft drinks category in the on-premise experienced a slight value decline, there are a number of factors which contributed to this and it’s impressive to see that the trade is finding ways to adapt to this and deliver some success stories, such as growth across several sub-categories.”

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