Size matters in drinks aisle

Packs, tax and lower sugar

Rockstar Revolt offers two sugar free varieties, Killer Citrus and Killer Cooler.
Rockstar Revolt offers two sugar free varieties, Killer Citrus and Killer Cooler.

PACK size is a vital consideration in the purchase decisions of Scottish energy and functional drinks consumers according to two of the biggest players in the market.

Mark Young, managing director of Intercarabao, said: “Pack size can be important to energy drinks sales because Scottish shoppers want to buy drinks that are practical for their day-to-day lives.”

Young continued: “Retailers should try and stock a variety of pack sizes to allow consumers to purchase energy drinks in formats that suit their own individual needs.

“One customer might want to buy a pack of six cans to share with friends, while another will want to buy a single can to help give them the energy to get through a night shift.

“If both options are available, the retailer will sell to two customers, instead of just the customer they provided for.”

Putting a value of £135m on the energy drinks  category in Scotland, Adrian Troy, marketing director at Barr Soft Drinks, added: “Big can formats are driving growth at 13% with flavoured variants playing a significant role in the success.”

Troy quoted IRI Marketplace research that found that  Rockstar is currently the largest big can flavoured energy drink in Scottish c-stores and that the top two flavoured big cans are Rockstar flavours, with Xdurance taking the top spot and Punched Guava coming in at number two.

Big can formats are driving growth with flavoured variants playing a significant role

Lucozade Ribena Suntory agrees that a good range of SKUs can help retailers boost their take from energy drinks.

The firm’s UK sales director Scott Meredith said: “Energy brands should be a core part of any independent retailer’s chiller.

“Lucozade Energy is the leading brand in the segment, with over £92m  of sales contributed by the core range alone.

“In fact, an average store makes in excess of £2,000  a year in sales of Lucozade Energy.”

Meredith also pointed out that another major decision influencer for energy and functional drinks browsers, like with all soft drinks, is sugar content.

He explained: “The consumer demand for low and zero sugar soft drinks is still ongoing and likely to continue as the soft drinks industry levy comes into force.

“As part of our overall commitment to health and wellbeing, in November 2016 we outlined our plan to reformulate all drinks to be under 5g of sugar per 100ml.

“This means our core portfolio is ‘sugar tax free’, so it’s absolutely business as usual for our retail partners.

Lucozade Energy is now worth £92m.
Lucozade Energy is now worth £92m.

Over at AG Barr, Troy said: “Sugar is an important component of energy delivery for the majority of consumers, but a growing number of consumers are looking for a lower calorie or even sugar free option.

“The Scottish low calorie big can energy market is currently worth over £16m and growing at 26%.

“It is estimated to continue to grow significantly over the next five years.”

The latest extension of the Rockstar range is Rockstar Revolt in two zero sugar 500ml varieties, Killer Citrus and Killer Cooler.

Troy said: “Rockstar Revolt appeals to consumers who want zero sugar energy, but don’t want it to look, feel, perform or taste different to full sugar energy.”

Carabao is well prepared for the sugar tax, according to Young. He said: “We recently reformulated our energy drinks to offer a healthier, great-tasting option.

“In fact, Carabao is the only energy drinks brand in the UK to offer exclusively low-sugar or sugar-free product options.”

Young said that while the sugar levy comes with some uncertainty, retailers can continue to maintain sales by providing variety.

He concluded: “Experience has taught us that the key to maximising energy drink sales is offering a choice of affordable, great-tasting products without the guilt, and we will continue to follow this approach.”