Stage set for sales growth

Britvic report details category opportunities

Britvic Annual Soft Drinks Review

TURBULENT times can create opportunities for soft drinks in the convenience channel.

The cost of living crisis, the end of Covid restrictions and an increasing focus on health and wellbeing will all exert influence on soft drinks category trends in the months ahead, according to Britvic.

In its annual Soft Drinks Review, Britvic reported category sales growth of 11% in the UK convenience channel last year and suggested there are reasons to expect a strong 2022.
Despite the report finding that consumers will be, on average, £1,200 worse off this year compared to 2021, the easing of Covid restrictions and “growing shopper confidence” means overall consumer spend is expected to be higher in 2022 compared to the previous two years.

Britvic made a few predictions as to how soft drinks shoppers will behave in these conditions.

There are opportunities at both the top and bottom of the category in value terms. Shoppers that are really feeling the pinch are likely to hunt for value options, further bolstering the case for a strong PMP range in convenience. The format now accounts for 43.9% of soft drinks sales in the channel, up from 38.1% in 2019.

As household budgets tighten, retailers may also see an increasing number of shoppers seeking out smaller pack sizes as they move towards smaller transaction sizes.

At the other end of the scale, there’s scope for premium soft drinks growth. Within soft drinks, stimulants was the fastest growing subcategory, with 21% value sales growth, increasing market share to 26.9% – overtaking cola as the number one subcategory.

Chris Newman, head of category management for convenience and impulse at Britvic, said: “Convenience retailers must be alert to the budget pressures of these customers and adapt their soft drinks range accordingly to offer more value-friendly options.

“Retailers can meet these shopper needs by stocking market leading brands in added-value pack formats. Pepsi Max six-pack PMP, for example, will help give these shoppers an easier way to buy into the soft drinks category.”