AG Barr powers up energy category

Soft drinks giant answers HFSS curbs and shopper needs

Retailers have reported selling as many as six cases of PWR-BRU in a week.
Retailers have reported selling as many as six cases of PWR-BRU in a week.

THE reveal of Scotland’s own high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) restrictions could potentially hamper the success that energy drinks have been enjoying in the country as of late.

That is unless retailers stand ready to meet these new regulations – and AG Barr reckons it has the power to enable this with its own range of energy drinks.

With the ambition to grow the demand for big can energy across the Scottish energy market, the firm launched its PWR-BRU range of energy drinks last year in four flavours.

And ever-looking to the future, the four variants all fall below HFSS restrictions, allowing for them to still be sold under promotion, spelling good news for consumers seeking a more affordable option in their basket.

Jonathan Kemp, commercial director at AG Barr, said: “The current economic landscape and subsequent cost-of-living concerns have resulted in almost 30% of consumers looking for lower-cost alternatives.

“Financial pressures have also driven demand for own-label products to record levels across many categories.

“However, energy is bucking the trend as 97% of sales are from brands, showing that branded energy drinks remain the clear choice for shoppers.

“Barr Soft Drinks recently powered up the Scottish energy market with the launch of PWR-BRU – a distinctive new energy brand from the house of Irn-Bru.

PWR-BRU aims to meet new demands.
PWR-BRU aims to meet new demands.

“Irn-Bru has already delivered growth within the energy market, with the brand seen by consumers as having a natural fit with the category, and research highlighted that there is the potential for something bigger and bolder.”

The potential resulted in the PWR-BRU range with its four flavours of Origin, Diablo, Maverick and Dropkick, which are all non-HFSS and available both in plain packaging as well as a £1.19 PMP format.

Kemp said: “PWR-BRU is the brand to unlock incremental growth by offering something truly different, delivering an energy drink like no other brand can.”

To help illustrate this, Barr partnered up with independent convenience retailers shortly following the launch of the new range, working alongside Dennis Williams of Broadway Premier Convenience Store in Edinburgh.

Williams says the store has been selling six cases of PWR-BRU a week, demonstrating a clear demand and popularity for the energy drink range.

He said: “It’s doing really well for us. Our shoppers love new products and we’re seeing PWR-BRU attract a mix of existing energy drink shoppers and consumers who didn’t buy into the category before.

“Our best-sellers are Original and Berry, and I’m finding the price-mark is very effective at communicating good value.”

Further responding to the rising trends across the energy sector, AG Barr has touted its Rubicon Raw range to help deliver on the demand for big can energy formats, as well as the need for flavoured energy options across the range.

Rubicon Raw Apple & Guava aims to attract new shoppers to the category.
Rubicon Raw Apple & Guava aims to attract new shoppers to the energy category.

And drawing on tropical fruit flavours, the brand launched its latest addition to the range with Rubicon Raw Apple & Guava in a bid to help attract new shoppers to the energy category through its wide variety of flavours.

The firm has said the launch has gone on to exceed sales expectations for Rubicon Raw, with AG Barr’s sales data finding it has sold over 1.1 million cans since May 2023 and has quickly established itself as the No.1 apple flavoured energy drink in the market, according to IRI research.

Responding to this massive demand in the market, Barr rolled out a four 500ml can multipack of the flavour in a bid to meet demands of those consumers who were looking for more at-home consumption occasions of energy drinks.

And it’s this response to consumer needs that matters when it comes to delivering on more energy drinks sales in convenience, says AG Barr.

Kemp said: “Growth in flavoured energy is linked to consumer needs changing, and shoppers are looking to the category to be exciting and varied to keep them engaged.

“Rubicon Raw has been driving incremental sales and bringing more shoppers into the category. A third of Rubicon Raw sales are from new entrants to energy, while 70% of Raw shoppers are making it a repeat purchase.

“Rubicon Raw delivers on taste and exciting, interesting flavours, allowing retailers to invigorate their energy fixture and drive incremental sales.

“The energy drinks market remains one of the most profitable for retailers and Rubicon Raw has quickly established itself as a must-stock brand within it.

“Selling more than 35million cans since launch, it’s become the second most successful innovation launch within soft drinks.”