Soft drinks was one of the top-performing categories within convenience in 2017, and continued to be a key driver of footfall to c-stores, according to the latest Britvic Soft Drinks Review.

Britvic also unveiled its new category vision, entitled Drink Differently, which reveals a lucrative £2.6bn soft drinks sales opportunity over the next five years, by ensuring soft drinks remain relevant to all consumers and all occasions, across all channels.

Last year soft drinks featured in 20% of all convenience shopping baskets, making it the top category purchased, ahead of newspapers and milk for the fourth year running. As a result, the category grew in value by 2.3% to be worth £2.1bn, which Britvic says reflects its ability to evolve to meet changing needs, including the growing demand for healthier soft drinks.

The Britivic report reveals that in 2017, sales of diet soft drinks including low-calorie and low-sugar drinks drove absolute value sales growth across all the sub channels, increasing by 12.3% and adding £49m in value sales. The cola segment grew by £21m, with 76% of this growth coming from the diet segment.

Leading ’no sugar’ cola brands, such as Pepsi Max and Coke Zero, reaped the rewards of the continued demand for healthier soft drinks.