Cola and pure fruit juice may be the biggest sub-categories within the soft drinks market but it’s the energy drinks sector that is the fastest growing. According to Britvic’s Soft Drinks Report 2009, glucose/stimulant drinks achieved 12% growth last year, with sales amounting to £522m in the total take-home market and £314m in impulse outlets. It’s good news, particularly for forecourts where energy drinks sell and sell. Indeed AC Nielsen data puts Red Bull as the number one soft drink through forecourts on a cash rate of sale basis (see box p30.
And there’s more good news for forecourts as driver fatigue is a big focus for Red Bull this year. Apparently one in five accidents are caused by tiredness. But research from the Loughborough Sleep Research Centre found that one can of functional energy drink (Red Bull was used in the tests) is effective in reducing moderate levels of sleepiness (eg that ’afternoon dip’ we sometimes get). What is more, two cans will almost eliminate this level of sleepiness and sleep-related driving impairments for about 90 minutes. "Nevertheless, drivers should get adequate sleep and not see functional energy drinks as a substitute for sleep," says Tom Smith, Red Bull’s trade communications manager.
"We’ll be doing a lot of work with forecourts in the coming months to help communicate the functionality of Red Bull and its role in helping combat driver fatigue which, in addition to helping consumers, will help drive energy drink sales and grow the category. Retailers should note that Red Bull is the only functional energy drink available to consumers with scientific evidence to prove it helps combat driver fatigue."
Red Bull has recently worked on offering consumers different formats for different occasions.
Smith explains: "The classic Red Bull 250ml can remains the highest cash rate of sale SKU in impulse and Red Bull Sugarfree is a popular choice among consumers who want an energy boost without the sugar, and now accounts for 14% of the business. Then we’ve got the 355ml can offering ’more energy now’ and the most recent addition to the family, the 473ml can."
Smith says this new can has both consumer and trade benefits. "Consumers now have a larger size of their preferred energy drink at good value for those social occasions like parties, concerts, at home before they go out or simply for when they’re in need of a lot more energy. For the trade, it will add value to the sports and energy category and drive growth while giving retailers big sales opportunities.
"It’s important that, as the most recognised energy drink brand with a 26% market share (Nielsen data Dec 08), we have a range of SKUs that meet every consumer occasion. The launch of 473ml gives us this and based on trials we believe it will soon be in the top 10 best selling soft drinks list."
Meanwhile Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) puts much of the energy drinks sector’s growth down to the success of its Relentless brand. There are now four Relentless flavours for consumers to choose from: origin, inferno, juiced tropical and juiced energy berry.
Ed Knight, head of communications at CCE, comments: "Relentless is growing at a phenomenal rate and the recent introduction of juiced energy berry will further strengthen the brand’s position within the segment."
CCE will be investing £6m in multi-media activity for Relentless this year including sponsorship and experiential sampling aligned to core action sports, motorbike racing and modern rock music. All sponsorship will be aimed at the Relentless target audience of men aged 18-40.
Says Knight: "Energy drinks pose a massive opportunity for forecourt retailers as almost 24% of soft drinks’ shoppers are under 24 years, and they account for 50% of energy sales. Additionally, 50% of soft drinks shoppers in forecourt stores are 24-55 years old, and these shoppers tend to over-index on ’revive me’ type energy drinks. By making this sector more accessible and relevant retailers can encourage shoppers to buy more often and attract new consumers to the sector."
But Relentless is not CCE’s only energy drink - the company recently expanded its energy portfolio with the addition of Monster Energy. Three variants are available: original, lo-carb and ripper. The brand is already big in the United States. Its UK launch will be supported by a £4m marketing investment. And earlier this year CCE’s Powerade renewed sponsorship deals with both the English and Welsh rugby teams. The beverage is also the official sports drink of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, the Lucozade brand has been in the news lately because of its expansion into sports nutrition products however the big news for forecourts is the repackaging of Lucozade Alert into cans. Brand owner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) says it has done this to bring it more in line with "consumers’ perceptions of mental stimulation drinks".
Alert is the first dedicated mental stimulation drink from GSK. It contains caffeine to sharpen mental performance and stimulate the mind fast.
The relaunch in cans is backed by a £2m campaign that includes outdoor and digital activity. In addition the website (lucozade.com/alert) will feature a number of mentally-stimulating activities covering areas such as memory, reaction times, logic and speed.
Lucozade brand manager, Alex Saunders, says: "We have seen excellent incremental sales since Lucozade Alert launched last year and are confident that the move to a can format coupled with the 2009 support programme will communicate the benefits of Lucozade Alert to consumers and stimulate sales."
Meanwhile Lucozade is currently giving consumers the chance to win £1,000 a day. The on-pack promotion is supported by an £8m media campaign.
== Damp squib ==
Bottled water, once the darling of the soft drinks market, had a tough year in 2008. According to Britvic, in impulse outlets plain water sales were down 11% to £141m. The weather was obviously a big problem and there was also a lot of negative publicity about the cost of bottled water versus tap water.
Danone Waters’ plan is to restore momentum in the category with a series of marketing and PR campaigns to encourage consumers to buy bottled water.
The company reckons there is still significant room for growth in the market as per capita consumption of bottled water in the UK is still way behind other countries where it is safe to drink tap water (approximately half of the per capita consumption of bottled water in the US, for example).
Danone Waters (UK & Ireland), Nestlé Waters UK and Highland Spring have joined together to form the National Hydration Council (NHC).
Trevor Datson, external communications director at Danone Waters, explains the Council’s role: "Our objectives are to research and promote the environmental, health and other sustainable benefits of natural bottled water. This will ensure that consumers are able to make a proper choice about natural bottled water and hydration in their daily lives."
On to brands, and Danone’s Evian is the market leader with a 17% market share (Nielsen figures), followed by Volvic plain still with a 12.5% share.
Danone supports it brands with various marketing campaigns and Datson says it is supporting forecourts via various promotions throughout the year in the wholesale channel. "These promotions can then be passed onto customers to keep sales flowing in order for forecourts to help them ride out the tough economic conditions we are facing."
Continues Datson: "The main reason consumers choose bottled water over any other type of drink in forecourts is that it is more effective at quenching thirst than juice or a carbonated drink.
"Traditionally statistics show that the three months from June to August account for 35% of annual water sales as the hotter temperatures increase consumer demand for chilled water. Merchandising bottled water correctly in this critical period can make a real difference to profits. Forecourts can take full advantage of this opportunity by ensuring bottled water is given space in the chiller and by keeping their shelves fully stocked."
He says strategic placement of bottled water utilising bulk stacks and dumpbins can also play an important role in driving incremental sales. "Although these bottles are displayed at ambient temperature, shopper research indicates that in hot weather, and in the absence of chilled water, shoppers will purchase ambient water in preference to other ambient soft drinks because of water’s ability to quench thirst and re-hydrate."
Meanwhile, according to Britvic’s report, the ’water-plus’ category (flavoured or functional waters) fared even worse than plain water with sales down 13% in impulse outlets. However Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) reckons its Glacéau vitamin water represents a great opportunity for retailers in the UK. Described as "the original, great-tasting active lifestyle drink from New York", it is specially formulated to help people get more of the vitamins and hydration they need to get through the day. There are six varieties and each contains spring water plus a combination of nutrients to deliver a specific benefit for any time of the day.
CCE is busy building distribution for the brand this year and is backing it with a £7m marketing campaign.
Ed Knight comments: "We are very excited about Glacéau and the response from our customers and consumers has been very encouraging. The brand is still in its early stages but we have had hundreds of people contact us to say how much they love the product. With the brand support we are investing this year, we are confident more and more people will get to try it."
== Juice burst ==
In the pure juice category, worth £149m in impulse outlets, Tropicana has recently refreshed its on-the-go offering with the addition of three new varieties: orange & mango; mango, peach & papaya; and passionfruit, pear & apple. Brand owner PepsiCo hopes they will replicate the success of Tropicana Original and Smooth, the top two selling juice lines in impulse.
David Johnston, general manager at Tropicana, says: "Tropicana is a must-stock for retailers. We expect these new varieties to further consolidate Tropicana’s position as the UK’s number one juice brand in impulse and retailers can capitalise on the investment we are putting behind the brand by stocking a combination of Tropicana’s best sellers and new varieties."
Also new from Tropicana is a premium product line up. Called the Gold Label range, it is a collection of indulgent juices created by expertly sourcing and blending the finest fruit. PepsiCo hopes the new range will build on Tropicana’s reputation for premium products and quality, meeting consumer demand for exceptional taste and value while catering for the evening ’home indulgence’ occasion.
There are four exotic flavours in the Gold Label range: sanguinello Sicilian blood orange; hand-picked raspberry, wild rosehip & elderberry; alphonso mango, pineapple & a hint of lime; and Valencia orange & crushed raspberry. All come in classy black and gold cartons for maximum on-shelf impact.
In addition, four new varieties have been added to Tropicana’s Pure Premium core range: passionfruit, pear & apple; pineapple & passionfruit; mango, peach & papaya; and pineapple.
The brand will be supported by a multi-million pound marketing investment including a new TV campaign which highlights the quality of Tropicana and its use of the finest ingredients.
It’s great to see that even during these straitened times, manufacturers are backing brands with big ad campaigns.
Ocean Spray has a £3.5m-plus TV campaign currently on air as part of an overall media investment of £7m in support of its ambient juice drinks. The ads highlight the "cranberry health message" - that the antioxidants, natural compounds and Vitamin C found in Ocean Spray drinks help protect your body inside. The advertising is supported by in-store promotions and price-marked packs available through wholesalers and cash and carries.
And Appletiser, the gently sparkling 100% fruit juice drink, is backed by a new £3m ’Enjoy Irresponsibly’ campaign. Running through to the end of the year, it includes online activity with websites such as ASOS, Lovefilm and Match.com, a nationwide sampling programme, in-store pos and national press advertising. Activity will be concentrated around key consumption periods during the summer and in the lead up to Christmas. The aim is to communicate that Appletiser can be enjoyed every day, because it contains 100% fruit juice and no added sugar, preservatives or colourants.
The brand is currently enjoying good growth, which is attributed to the range extension last year, which included the launch of Fruitiser, as well as better marketing support. Its ’5 A Day’ and ’100% fruit juice’ proposition has also helped the brand.
Onto juice drinks, and CCE is backing its adult brand Oasis with a new campaign which runs throughout this month. The £3.3m marketing investment includes TV, digital and outdoor advertising, PR, in-store sampling and pos material. The new ads are targeted at women and focus on the Oasis Extra Light variants.
Finally, the latest launch from Britvic is another adult juice drink. New Juicy Drench is made with Britvic’s Drench spring water plus 8% fruit juice. It contains no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners.
It is available in three flavours: orange & passionfruit; cranberry & raspberry; and blackcurrant & apple; and comes in single serve 400ml PET bottles.
Leslie Davey, brand director at Britvic, describes Juicy Drench as a "real step forward in juice drinks": "Currently consumers buy bottled water for hydration on the go but our research shows they are also looking for something different at the right price point to add to their existing repertoire - something the juice drinks category doesn’t provide at the moment. We’re confident Juicy Drench will provide retailers with a real opportunity for increasing sales."
=== Top Tips ===
l By grouping like products together, you can increase your total soft drinks category sales by over 8%.
l Use a planogram - the average shopper spends only 19 seconds at the drinks chiller so it’s important to make sure it is easy for them to find what they want.
l Make sure soft drinks are cold - chilling soft drinks can increase your sales by 60%.
l Use a dairy deck - they are a great alternative to chillers with doors and can further increase sales by 15%.
l 50% of soft drinks are bought on impulse so make sure you have soft drinks in a highly visible location.
l Remember that you would need to sell three packets of crisps to make the same profit as one soft drink. Maximise this opportunity by dual-siting soft drinks in high footfall areas.
=== Impulse sales by sub-category % £ ===
1 Cola 28% £515m
2 Glucose/stimulant drinks 17% £314m
3 Fruit carbonates 9% £176m
4 Juice drinks 9% £169m
5 Pure juice 8% £149m
6 Plain water 8% £141m
7 Sports drinks 5% £96m
8 Dairy/dairy substitutes 4% £66m
9 Non-fruit carbonates 3% £62m
10 Squash 3% £60m
Source: Britvic Soft Drinks Report 2009
=== Top 10 soft drinks in forecourts by cash rate of sale ===
1. Red Bull 250ml can
2. Coca-Cola 500ml bottle
3. Lucozade Energy 500ml bottle
4. Diet Coke 500ml bottle
5. Red Bull 355ml can
6. Lucozade Sport 500ml bottle
7. Lucozade Energy 500ml bottle
8. Ribena Original 500ml bottle
9. Relentless 500ml can
10. Red Bull Sugar Free 250ml can
Source: Nielsen February 21, 2009
=== Coke is still ’it’ ===
Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) reports that Coca-Cola had a fantastic 2008 with retail sales growing by 3.9% to reach £517.3m (AC Nielsen data). And this year the brand experienced its best January to date.
In addition, Coca-Cola 500ml is the number two selling soft drink by cash rate of sale in forecourts (see p30). Red Bull is number one.
Ed Knight, head of communications at CCE, comments: "There is evidence to show that during difficult times consumers will turn to well-known brands for reassurance - either for heritage or functional benefit.
"As such, consumers are increasingly turning to soft drinks they know and trust like Coca-Cola. We believe in keeping it simple - by producing products that people enjoy while remaining good value for money."
This summer Coca-Cola will be giving consumers the chance to win thousands of music prizes including VIP live music and festival packages. Consumers will also receive a free music download by visiting www.cokezone.co.uk and entering the unique code printed on every 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero purchased between June and August.
The summer promotion will also run across special multipacks and 2ltr bottles.