A long thirsty summer in 2013 saw category sales grow, with water and niche brands among the big winners
GOOD weather and the trend to trade up has seen the soft drinks market top £10bn for the first time, according to Britvic. The annual review of the market from the company behind Tango and Robinsons shows that, across the on and off-trades, the category is now worth £10.3bn.
And while three quarters of soft drinks are sold in supermarkets, the convenience sector is enjoying stronger growth, with value sales up 5% compared to 3% in the giants. Britvic puts that down to shoppers buying drinks for immediate consumption, or as part of a top-up shop. C-store sales grew 5% by volume, against 1% in the multiples.
Water had a great year, although much of the reported 13% value growth was in supermarkets as consumers stocked up in anticipation of hot weather. Flavoured waters were up 8%.
Energy drinks continued to impress, up 7% in the impulse channel. Lucozade and Red Bull were the dominant brands while Monster and Mountain Dew grew ahead of the category as a whole.
Increased demand saw Rockstar move up 84% by value and 90% by volume in the findings.
Volume growth in pure fruit juices was affected by the rising cost of raw materials. Within the convenience sector sales dipped, as shoppers viewed fruit juice as pricier than other drinks.
Upmarket brands with a strong health message bucked that trend. Vita Coco coconut water, boosted by the introduction of a multi-pack, as well as celebrity endorsements, saw its value rise by 125%. Premium brand Copella and Innocent’s juices also did well, said Britvic.
But Innocent’s smoothie range struggled as the smoothie category declined by 4%.
Juice drinks, thought to be perceived as better value for money than pure fruit juices, grew by 12% overall and by 15% in the convenience sector. Britvic puts the growth down to customers buying drinks for lunches and breakfasts on the go.
The rise of double-concentrate squashes, such as Robinsons, led to a decline in volume sales in the sub-sector. New smaller sizes, such as Robinsons 500ml, performed well in convenience. Unusual flavours from Belvoir Fruit Farms and Bottle Green both grew ahead of the general squash market.
Cold hot drinks, such as iced tea and coffee, were up 43% (from a low base). Lipton Ice Tea and the Starbucks range were the biggest names. Niche brand Jimmy’s Coffee grew 305% by value and 286% by volume, an example of a trend towards independent varieties.