Soft drinks – some interesting facts this festive season

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It’s exactly a year since the newer drink-driving level was introduced in Scotland, and soft drinks  have probably never been so important to the on-trade. Here are a few facts about the soft drink  categories and some brands worth considering to tempt your customers this festive season.

According to the recent Britvic soft drink market report on the value of sales of soft drinks increased by 3.6% to £4.2bn and by 0.5% in volume, with the on-trade accounting for more than half of these sales.

Did you know that Appletiser celebrated its 50th birthday in 2015.  It was created in 1965 by Edmond Lombardi in South Africa, and today is sold all around the world, including in the UK, Japan, Australia, amongst many others. Staying true to its roots, the drink is still produced in the Western Cape apple orchards of the Elgin Valley, situated in the beautiful Fynbos Floral Kingdom.

You’ve been able to enjoy Iced Tea from Lipton in convenience stores but now you will also be able to offer it as a no-alcohol alternative to your customers as it has launched in the on-trade too. The brands core audience are 18-34 year olds, and it has an eyecatching new jam jar serve, which increases its relevance in bars.  The on-trade launch has also been backed by a consumer campaign. Said a spokesman for Lipton Ice Tea, “By driving awareness and excitement around the new-look and extended range we are confident the campaign will result in greater sales for retailers and operators alike.”

However….40% of consumers agree the choice of soft drinks available when eating and drinking out is too narrow. More than 60% of soft drink consumers we interviewed agree that they would like to see a better range of soft drinks exclusively targeted at adults, and the same number would like to see more healthy soft drinks on offer.”

One of the newest soft drinks on the block is J2O Midnight  Amber, a limited edition exclusively for the on trade. This limited edition captures the spirit of the winter season with a magical burst of orange, lemon and mandarin fruit juices, blended with a winter spice flavour. Owners Brivtic put £2m behind the brand, and a burst of advertising in the run up to Christmas should encourage consumers to ask for it at the bar. Kevin McNair, GB Marketing Director, Britvic Soft Drinks, commented, “As the UK’s largest juice drink brand, holding a 61% value market share of the on-trade soft drinks category, we’re confident that J2O’s fantasy-world-inspired Midnight Amber blend will capture the spirit of the season and help drive adult soft drinks sales.
J2O Midnight Amber can be enjoyed either on its own as a sophisticated adult soft drink or as part of a range of delicious mocktails and cocktails.

For all the diversity of product development in the take-home category, carbonated drinks are still the most commonly consumed type out of home, with premium bottled drinks, such as elderflower pressé, consumed by only 12% of on-trade soft drink users, compared with one in three who drink bottled water.”  Peach Report

Did you know that AG Barr, Irn Bru’s owners, also owns cocktail mixer business Funkin. The company bought the soft drink brand in February 2015 in a deal worth £21m.
Funkin’s products – which include mixers for Pina Colada and  Strawberry Daiquiri as well as the Espresso Martini – are made using only natural ingredients. Speaking about the acquisition Roger White, chief executive of AG Barr, said, “We are delighted that Funkin will become part of A.G. BARR.   We believe that Funkin has created a unique niche in a growing market and together we can drive exciting growth in a new sub category.   We have a proven track record of acquiring and developing high growth brands such as Rubicon.   Under our ownership we believe Funkin is even more strongly positioned to take advantage of a number of exciting growth opportunities.”

The soft drinks category has more on-trade consumers than any other. Some 51% of on-trade drinkers consume them in bars, pubs or restaurants, at some time or other, even if motivations for ordering them when out commonly focus on the interrelated issues of being the driver and the avoidance of alcohol, either in the daytime, or altogether.” Peach Report

New soft drink mixer Qcumber hit the on-trade in August, and since then it has been undergoing an extensive sampling campaign to build awareness and gain trial.  Created from natural cucumber essence and spring water, all Qcumber products are made from 100% natural ingredients and are free from artificial sweeteners, colours, preservatives and flavourings.  Available in 200ml crown-cap bottles, Qcumber Premium Mixer is positioned as an ideal accompaniment to gin or vodka.
Graham Carr-Smith, creator of the cucumber-flavoured drinks brand, says, “The last few years have seen a growth in high-end mixers to complement the trend towards premium spirits.  We already know that consumers think our cucumber-flavoured products are perfect for making long mixed drinks with so we’re expecting big things from our new Qcumber Premium Mixer.  The G&Q is already established as a contemporary interpretation of the classic gin and tonic combination, and our new premium mixer will build on this popularity.”

Another quirky brand which is now prevalent in the on-trade, particularly in bar and restaurants that favour premium brands is Fentimans. It’s quirky range of bottled mixers includes Light Tonic Water, which they say is the world’s first botanically brewed light tonic water. The range also includes Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale.  The business is still in the Fentimans family and is owned by the Great Grandson of Thomas Fentiman who took on the recipe in 1905, the company still makes its beverages by the time honoured method of botanically brewing the finest natural ingredients. Its production processes have been updated through the addition of mild carbonation to replace the carbon dioxide lost during pasteurisation, which gives the product a longer life.”

According to OMG Facts researchers have found some key differences between the people who identify themselves as being a Coke drinker or a Pepsi drinker. For instance: Coke people prefer things like sushi, and might have tasted caviar.   It’s more likely that Pepsi drinkers haven’t had a holiday in 6 months while Coke drinkers are more likely to show up early to an appointment. Pepsi drinkers? On time or late.

And finally you better start stocking up on water… research indicates that Water will overtake carbonated drinks as the world’s best selling soft drink shortly as health conscious consumers turn their back on sugary drinks. Researchers Canadean say that by the end of December 53 billion gallons (238bn litres) of bottled water will have been sold compared to 50 billion gallons (227bn litres) of fizzy drinks.

Category: Features
Tags: Appletiser, Britvic, cocacola, J2O, pepsi, The Waterside Hotel and Si! Shack, water