The right time to reassess the range

Smirnoff’s two-strong seltzer range.

NOW is the perfect time for retailers to reassess their RTD and hard selzter offer, according to spirits giant Diageo.

Lauren Priestley, head of category development for the off trade at Diageo, said that as we settle into 2022, “retailers should be on the lookout for changes in consumer trends and purchasing decisions.”

When it comes to building a hard seltzer range that’s right for the Scottish convenience channel, Priestley said offering the right brands is “essential to maximise sales.”

“We know that consumers naturally gravitate towards those that they know and trust, so retailers may want to consider stocking convenient formats of well-known brands such as Smirnoff, the number one contributor to value growth of total vodka,” she said.

Priestley suggested retailers stock up on Smirnoff Seltzer Orange & Grapefruit and Smirnoff Seltzer Raspberry & Rhubarb. Both Smirnoff seltzer variants are 4.7% ABV and available in a 250ml can format.

Big brands may dominate, but Priestley also suggested retailers should consider complementing these with some lesser-known brands “to aid exploration in the category.”

“Over the past few years, the RTD category has taken off as consumers look to products that offer convenience and high-quality, as well as flavour innovation and sleek, appealing packaging design.

“In fact, data from 2020 revealed that the RTD category is growing slightly ahead of the current off-trade BWS market at 22.5%.

“Since the pandemic, people have been enjoying cocktails at home, so we’ve seen demand for a range of drinks in convenient formats that are ideal for casual and at-home occasions.

“To make the most of this opportunity, retailers can look to provide high quality RTD drinks that cater to this demand. Ensuring plenty of fridge space for RTDs is vital as the category continues to expand,” she said.

Whatever retailers decide to stock, Priestley said it’s key to stock RTDs and seltzers in the chiller where possible.

“Keeping hard seltzers and RTDs in the chiller is key to encouraging sales, and it’s also generally expected by consumers,” she said.