Getty soft drinks bottles

Source: Getty images

When Lilt transitioned into Fanta Pineapple & Grapefruit last year, taking its famous ‘totally tropical taste’ with it, who knew it would be such a hit.

All the publicity surrounding the demise of Lilt probably led to more consumers trying the fruity drink for the first time, under its new Fanta name. Whatever the reason, Fanta Pineapple & Grapefruit has been named as the best-selling piece of NPD last year across convenience outlets, resulting in £5.5m-worth of sales (Circana data).

Second came Red Bull’s mixed fruit flavour, racking up £4.4m-worth of sales followed by Tango Sugar Free Fruit Punch, with £4.2m-worth of sales. It makes for interesting reading and illustrates just how important it is to keep up with the latest NPD and trends to ensure you get your fair share of any extra spend.

Tango has been a busy brand what with the launch of its Editions – the latest of which is Mango – and also the transfer of Tango Blast flavours (Raspberry and Cherry Blast) into a limited edition, ready-to-drink (RTD) format.

Tango Blast drinks have been a huge success in forecourts up and down the land and brand owner Britvic hopes the launch into an RTD format will engage Gen Z shoppers with its bold flavours, striking colours and eye-catching packaging. The drinks are available exclusively to the convenience channel in 500ml bottles, rrp £1.99.

Meanwhile, Tango’s core orange flavour is currently backed by a multi-million pound ‘Outrageously Orange’ campaign. The ad is set in a prison, with Tango Orange smuggled inside by an inmate. Once discovered, the drink is confiscated and tested by the warden, who discovers that the flavour is so bold, that it compels even the strictest officials to spontaneously start dancing.

Britvic drinks

Market growth

According to Britvic’s latest Soft Drinks Report 2024, soft drinks sales through convenience stores grew by 15.7% last year, to reach £3.3bn. It reports encouraging volume and unit growth too – of 3.3% and 3% respectively (Circana data).

Britvic’s report features figures for sales through Roadside Petrol Multiples which, while not covering the entire forecourt market, give some insight into sales. The Circana data values total soft drinks sales through this segment at £306.8m, up 9.9% on the previous year. Stimulants aka energy drinks account for the biggest chunk of sales – worth £109m and up nearly 16% on last year. Next comes cola, with £57m-worth of sales and up just 1.6% on last year. In third place is plain water, worth nearly £38m and up 9.8%.

However, it is sports drinks that is showing the strongest growth, up £41% to £17.5m. There was also good growth from non-fruit carbs – up 19% to £2.6m and iced tea, up 15% to just over £3m.

Britvic found that soft drinks are bought on 29.5% of forecourt visits. And the food-to-go mission is the main driver of sales, with 32% of soft drinks visits attributed to people looking for food to takeaway and eat straight away. Likewise, just buying a drink to go is a strong mission. Meanwhile, those on a fuel mission often buy a soft drink at the same time.

Britvic says encouraging shoppers to pick up drinks on these occasions with promotions and savvy merchandising will fuel further growth in soft drinks sales. Its report says: “Clear communicate is crucial when it comes to helping people complete their missions. It’s key that retailers communication promotions clearly along the path to purchase, merchandise products included in deals together and ensure that prices are not easily missed.”


Water with more purpose

With plain water such a good seller in forecourts, it’s good when something new and interesting comes along.

New NEO WTR, produced by Brookfield Drinks, is described as Europe’s first beverage brand to actively tackle the problem of ocean plastic.

All NEO WTR bottles are produced in the UK using 100% Prevented Ocean Plastic (excluding the cap and label) – a high quality, certified and award-winning recycled plastic material that has been collected from coastal areas at risk of ocean plastic pollution. NEO WTR uses material sourced from Indonesia, the world’s second largest contributor to ocean plastic pollution. The plastic meets regulatory health and safety standards, is traceable back to source and can be identified on-pack through its triangular logo.

NEO WTR managing director, Nigel McNally, says: “We’ve worked incredibly hard to bring this extremely worthwhile product to market. NEO WTR is a first for the category and a massive advancement in packaging for soft drinks. Our 100% Prevented Ocean Plastic bottle, with its recyclable cap and label, offers an environmentally positive option that actively tackles the growing problem of ocean plastic.

“I’m proud knowing that we are helping combat ocean-bound waste plastic in regions that do not have the infrastructure to manage it, while also supporting the collectors in these areas to earn a fair and reliable wage.

“Consumers deserve a solution which allows them a more sustainable option to purchase bottled water when they are out and about and can’t use a refillable bottle to stay hydrated.”


Mockingbird making its mark in forecourts

Mockingbird Raw Press is the fastest growing smoothie brand in the UK*, bringing the quality and fresh taste of smoothies available on the High Street into a retail bottle. Successfully listed across all major grocers and delivering +109% year-on-year growth*, Mockingbird is now bursting onto the scene across forecourts.

Mockingbird is now listed in sites across Welcome Break, Roadchef, Ascona, SGN Retail and Penny Petroleum, plus Budgens, Londis, Premier and Costcutter, via Booker Retail Partners and Nisa.

Since Mockingbird’s launch into Ascona last September, Mockingbird is the number one value-driving smoothie brand, has the highest brand share in total smoothies, has overtaken own label, and holds the number one and number two performing SKUs in the category**.

Mockingbird can play an important role for forecourts by providing the 52% of the population that don’t make a purchase with their fuel***, with a product that they might be more likely to purchase.

Smoothies are well established within forecourts, but there’s big room for growth. The emergence of innovative manufacturing processes like cold pressing and HPP (High Pressure Pasteurisation) has helped to create a new subcategory that is leading smoothie and juice category growth globally at CAGR+9.9%****. This new process, which allows juices and smoothies to maintain their ingredients raw state as opposed to being heat treated, helps delivery better quality, taste and health.



Instagram: @MockingbirdRawPress

 * Nielsen data: L52weeks, week ending 27/01/2024 **Ascona Group Retail Sales/Smoothies/Data 16 weeks to 31.12.23

*** ****Research Reports World: Global Cold Pressed Juices Market Outlook [2023-2030])

Another new water brand addressing the plastic problem is Juji Water, in a can, from Birmingham-based Kawaji UK.

Juji Water features Kawaji’s own sub-brand and character, Juji, who adorns the 500ml aluminium can and forms a big part of the marketing push.

CEO of Kawaji, Richard Woodall, says: “There’s too much plastic, the world needs cheering up and we don’t currently have a water brand. One thing we do have is our character Juji and access to English spring water. So we put the two ideas together and wrapped it up in a recyclable, non-environment damaging, aluminium can.”

Featuring illustrations of the cute Juji character, Juji Water will be promoted with the strapline: Juji Water: hydration just got adorable!


The power of promotions

On-pack promotions remain a big part of marketing in the soft drinks sector.

Ribena has unveiled a new on-pack promotion across its full range of formats which gives shoppers the chance to win family experiences every day.

Prizes up for grabs include UK holiday packages and experience vouchers – as well as an additional 1,000 cash prizes to reward shoppers with some summer spending money.

Shoppers can enter via a QR code on pack, which can be found across the brand’s squash and ready-to-drink formats.

The Ribena berries made their return to screens last year for the first time in almost 10 years as part of the brand’s 85th birthday celebrations and ‘Summer of Fun’ campaign.

After being seen by over 13 million people last summer, the berries will have even more screen time for 2024. Running for one month longer than last year, the ad is live until July across TV, video-on-demand, and YouTube – and is expected to be seen by 23 million people this time around.

shaken udder

Shaken up

Sticking with advertising, and premium milkshake brand, Shaken Udder, has launched a new marketing campaign on that injects light-hearted fun into common adult phrases including office talk, such as “by end of play”.

The campaign showcases the brand’s core range of on-the-go 330ml milkshakes that come in seven different flavours including Chocolush, Vanillalicious and Strawberry Dream. The creative shows the brand’s use of real ingredients in its milkshakes by using images of Belgian chocolate and real fruit.

The multi-million-pound media campaign includes four weeks of OOH (out of home) advertising that will reach 35 million adults, as well as digital, social media and influencer marketing as well as sampling and retailer activation throughout the summer.

Jo Abram, marketing director at Shaken Udder, says: “ We want to sprinkle a bit of Shaken Udder positivity and playfulness into grown-ups’ everyday lives through a light-hearted advertising campaign that reminds people not to take certain aspects of life too seriously. After all, you can’t take life too seriously when you’re drinking a Shaken Udder.”

Shaken Udder is now the number two flavoured milkshake brand in the UK and the number one premium milkshake brand. It is worth £30.5m in retail sales value, growing ahead of the category at +26% year-on-year (Nielsen). 

Coke zero football

Footfall fever 

Finally, with football fever about to hit the nation Coca-Cola, as the official partner of UEFA EURO 2024, wants to help retailers tap into the excitement surrounding the tournament, by giving shoppers the chance to win a host of football-themed prizes.

The on-pack promotion runs for five weeks across 2ltr, 1.25ltr and 500ml PET bottles, 330ml cans and 24-multipack cans and 330ml glass icon bottles of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. Consumers scan QR codes on limited edition packs which then takes them to the Coke App to enter a prize draw for a chance to win. Packs feature eye-catching football fan designs with four different designs in total.

Consumers can get their hands on Adidas training tops and official UEFA Euro 2024 prizes which include Coca-Cola branded footballs and cups. Everyone who enters will be added to a draw for an ultimate VIP final fan fest experience at BoxPark to watch the final game of the tournament.

The on-pack promotion follow’s Coca-Cola’s ‘Endless Summer’ on-pack activity which gave shoppers the chance to win pairs of tickets to UEFA EURO 2024 and 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

During the 2018 World Cup, the last summer football tournament not affected by the Covid pandemic, colas contributed more value to the growth of the soft drinks category than any other segment, and this was driven by the Coca-Cola brand (Nielsen).

Rob Yeomans, vice-president, commercial development at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) GB, says: “International tournaments attract mainstream viewers in a way that club football doesn’t, in fact football is a key passion point for consumers, with the UEFA EURO 2020 final drawing in over 29 million viewers in GB alone (Statista).

“For many, the games encourage get-togethers with friends and family for a BBQ or drinks at home or down the local pub. Within retail, our large PET bottles and multipacks of cans are therefore a must-stock to cater for these increased at-home social occasions, during the tournament and throughout the summer.

‘We’d encourage retailers to embrace football fever this summer, with in-store cross-category displays to drive up basket spend, football themed décor and by getting behind promotions like our Coca-Cola Zero Sugar UEFA EURO 2024 on-pack promotion.”