You don’t want to take your eye off the soft drinks market. There’s always something new to stock; the category’s in growth; plus soft drinks represent more than 10% of sales in your typical forecourt convenience store (IGD).

And this year we have the so-called ’summer of sport’ with London 2012 and football’s Euro 2012 as well as the Queen’s Jubilee to celebrate all will no doubt give soft drinks sales a boost and if the sun shines, there will be smiles all round.

As for that category growth, Britvic’s 2012 Soft Drinks Report reveals that total sales of soft drinks reached £9.7bn in 2011 up 4%. Take-home sales represented £7bn-worth of those sales, up 7% on the previous year. The grocery multiples took nearly 75% of those sales but impulse’s 25% amounted to about £1.8bn, up 7% on the previous year.

Cola is still king in impulse outlets, accounting for 25% of sales with ’glucose stimulant’ or energy drinks snapping at its heels with a 24.5% share. However, many forecourts report that energy drinks outsell cola. And energy drinks’ growth through impulse outlets was an impressive 18%. Interestingly, the biggest growth area in impulse was of ’cold hot drinks’ (things like Liptons Iced Tea), sales of which soared by 39%, making the category worth just over £6m. Good, but small fry when compared to cola’s £446m and energy’s £436.5m.

According to Synovate’s managed forecourt data, sports and energy drinks command a 40% share of sales in forecourt stores. Tom Smith, Red Bull trade communications manager, says: "In forecourts, sports and energy is outperforming total soft drinks growing at 3.4% versus 2%, meaning the category is worth nearly £81m in forecourts alone."

He adds that the category can be split into three sub segments: functional energy, such as Red Bull; refreshment energy such as Lucozade; and sport such as Lucozade Sport. Functional energy is the largest sub-segment commanding a 68% share, with Red Bull as market leader.

"Within sports and energy in forecourts, the top two brands Red Bull and Lucozade deliver 70% of value sales, which shows that consumers look to the most recognisable and trusted brands when seeking energy," says Smith.

On to Lucozade, and Lucozade Energy has a new exotic flavour Caribbean crush. The addition builds on the recent success of Lucozade cola, which has been the best selling new flavour launch in sports and energy in the past three years (Nielsen data).

Caribbean crush has been specifically developed for the impulse channel and, with a 95p price-marked pack, brand owner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) believes it will help drive soft drinks sales.

Brand manager Roxana Parvizi says: "Sports and energy is the fastest growing sector in the soft drinks category. However, only 2.9% of its ’drink now’ sales are in exotic flavours (Nielsen). This provides the perfect opportunity for Lucozade Energy Caribbean crush to be a key driver of category growth.

"New product development is critical for the category and, based on the increase in consumer demand for more exotic flavours, we are confident that our new Caribbean crush offers an exotic new alternative that consumers will love."

There are new flavour additions to the Boost range too. Tropical berry joins the isotonic sports range, while a new citrus flavour is being added to the core energy range of products. There is also redesigned packaging for the Active range to create even greater standout on shelf. And Boost Champions is back on four million packs across the UK this encompasses online games and on-pack promotions The online gaming tournament includes five different games created specifically for Boost, which will be promoted through its Facebook page with nearly 9,000 fans to allow players to share their scores and encourage friends to play along too. The instant-win on-pack promotions on Boost’s 1ltr Energy non-price-marked bottles and 500ml Energy price-marked and non-price-marked bottles give consumers the chance to win £10 every hour.

Simon Gray, managing director of Boost, says: "We’re excited to launch our first major on-pack promotion and we are confident that this strong offer will have a significant impact on sales."

Football crazy

Both Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) and GSK have football-themed promotions to cash in on UEFA’s Euro 2012 this summer. As an official sponsor of Euro 2012, which kicks off on June 8, CCE is giving consumers the chance to win tickets to the Championships, as well as Sharp entertainment systems, PS3s and PS Vitas through digital activity on Coke Zone.

The European Football Championship is one of Europe’s biggest football events and therefore represents a huge opportunity for retailers to score additional sales. During the 2010 FIFA World Cup soft drinks sales grew by 1.8% compared to the previous year and CCE sales grew by 5.5% (Nielsen).

The Coca-Cola brand aims to engage teenagers and their mums through various platforms. For teens there will be online ticket giveaways at Football fans can also interact on Coke Zone by transforming themselves into a football fan character, as well as by taking part in online games.

Meanwhile, the brand will be looking to ’engage’ mums at the point of purchase through tailored activation in-store, which includes various point-of-sale solutions for Coke and Coke Zero. These promote the chance to win a Sharp entertainment system with every purchase of Coca-Cola and a PS3 with every purchase of Coke Zero. Support will come from a new TV commercial with a ’celebrate football happiness’ message.

Darren Goldney, sales and customer development director at CCE, says: "With this summer set to be one of the biggest ever for sport, we expect the nation will be getting together to celebrate football happiness and watch a great championship. Retailers should be prepared for an increase in sales in the lead up to the Championships with specific in-store activity. They should also make the most of the huge opportunity during the event, when shoppers will be looking for their favourite brands to share with friends and family when watching the matches at home."

Lucozade Sport is using its position as the Official Sports and Energy Drink supplier to the England Team to give its consumers the chance to ’Win an Official England Football’ via its latest on-pack offer. The offer is a prominent feature within the new Lucozade Sport bottle design, which uses the official Three Lions branding.

The Lucozade brand does well during major football events. For example, during the 2010 World Cup, it delivered 10.6% growth (Nielsen), 50% of which came from new shoppers in the sports and energy category (Kantar).

This latest offer will be supported by a £3.5m marketing campaign, which will include TV, outdoor, press, digital and radio. A range of point of sale has also been developed for retailers to highlight the promotion in-store.

Meanwhile, the latest activity on Ribena and Dr Pepper is a little more ’off the wall’ with Ribena giving away wellies and Dr Pepper pants.

With Ribena, however, those wellies are designer ones. Starting in June and running for three months, the promotion will appear on the 500ml ready-to-drink (RTD) bottles. To be in with a chance of winning, consumers have to enter the special promotional code on pack at and see their chosen welly get thrown into the Ribena world. With a prize up for grabs every hour between 10am and 8pm every day during the promotional period, there will be more than 900 opportunities to win during June, July and August.

Michael Walford, senior brand manager for Ribena, says: "We are committed to offering strong, value-led promotions and this latest Ribena offer will help grow the RTD juice drinks sector."

Ribena has a proven track record of successful on-pack offers. In 2011, it ran the ’Win Festival Tickets’ promotion which led to an increase in sales of 8.2% during the promotional period. In impulse, the offer ran on 500ml packs and contributed to an increase in sales of 12.8% (Nielsen).

With Dr Pepper, consumers can win pants or prizes in a repeat of last year’s successful on-pack promotion. ’Win Pants or Prizes’ is running across all 330ml cans, 500ml and 2ltr bottles of the drink until June 10.

Consumers who purchase the special packs can enter by texting their on-pack promotional code or by entering online through Coke Zone ( They will then receive instant notification of entry into a weekly draw to win one of 10 electrical prizes, or a pair of novelty Dr Pepper pants.

Selena Taylor, trade communications manager at CCE, says: "We achieved great success with ’Win Pants or Prizes’ last summer and expect the campaign to be an even bigger hit this year as we’ve adapted it to be more viral in a bid to draw attention from digital savvy teens. Retailers wanting to capitalise on this promotion should make sure Dr Pepper is stocked up and well displayed both on-shelf and in the chillers during the promotional period."

Vimto Soft Drinks reckons its latest activity will result in a boost in sales for every local store in the UK. Millions of mums are being targeted by the brand in the latest phase of its ’Seriously Mixed Up Fruit’ advertising campaign.

The activity includes press advertising across the nation’s best-selling women’s and celebrity magazines, national consumer sampling and a £7.2m coupon giveaway. This will see 24 million 30p money-off coupons being distributed, which are redeemable at all shops stocking any cordial in the Vimto range.

Vimto brand manager Clare Pritchard says: "Vimto’s Seriously Mixed Up Fruit advertising reached 95% of teens last year and led to fantastic growth for the brand so we know teenagers are choosing our carbonate and still ranges. This latest campaign will reach mums, driving trial and awareness of the Vimto cordial range."

Another brand experiencing good growth is AG Barr’s Rockstar up 36% year-on-year (Nielsen).

The company’s head of marketing, Adrian Troy, says: "NPD has been the key driver of growth in the energy category and 2012 sees this trend set to continue. We have already successfully launched a new flavour, fruit punch, under the Rockstar Punched brand and are now launching Xdurance berry and an all-new Xdurance orange in 500ml PET."

But AG Barr is not just about energy drinks. The company also has KA and Rubicon, which were the fastest growing carbonates in 2011 with sales increases of over 50% (Nielsen), as well as Irn-Bru and Barr, which also achieved good sales increases, outgrowing the soft drinks market.

According to Nielsen data, Rubicon is the UK’s biggest exotic juice brand. This year it is being supported by a £6m marketing campaign that includes national TV advertising, national sampling and high-profile sponsorships of cricket players Graeme ’Swanny’ Swann and Muttiah ’Murali’ Muralitharan.

Meanwhile, KA is one of the fastest- growing soft drinks brands and is now worth £26m. Troy says that last year the brand added incremental retail sales of £15m through innovative NPD.

"Since KA sparkling fruit punch launched in 2010 in 2ltr and 330ml price-marked packs, it has seen impressive success. High demand led to an extension into 500ml bottles in November 2010. KA Fruit Punch achieved sales of almost £5m in its first year and is now the brand’s biggest flavour."

The brand is just launching sparkling kream soda in 330ml cans, 500ml PET and 2ltr PET and still strawberry in 500ml PET and 288ml and 1ltr cartons.

Moving on, and after a successful launch in the grocery channel, Weight Watchers new soft drinks range has entered the impulse market and is now available to forecourts through selected wholesalers.

The 500ml fruit drinks come in two flavours: Italian red grape & raspberry; and Brazilian orange, mango & watermelon both of which contain no added sugar. The range offers the consumer healthy fruit drinks that aim to keep you hydrated, control calorie intake, and moreover can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle without compromising on quality.

Marketing manager Emma Hunt says: "From extensive consumer research, we know that there is a definite gap in the market for low calorie, premium, flavoured adult drinks. The range has been developed in direct response to this, and given that the Weight Watchers brand is already a well-respected and global household name, we know that it will appeal to both forecourt retailers and shoppers alike."

Finally, Amanda Grabham, head of brand marketing for Shloer, says the drink should be a ’must stock’ brand as it is the leading adult soft drink (ASD) brand and has made the biggest growth contribution to the £116.5m ASD category over the past year (Nielsen).

"Total take-home volume sales have increased by 9% and value sales by 11% over the past 12 months adding £3m to Shloer sales value. Shloer also performed well in the impulse sector where it recorded an 8% uplift in value sales, and during 2011 it was one of only three major ASD brands in growth."

Grabham adds that in the last couple of years, Shloer has been channelling more of its marketing support into the summer months, to get consumers to put the drink on their shopping lists for things like barbecues and picnics. She says this really has paid dividends.

chill out

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has launched a new project, which aims to transform the chilled soft drinks space in independent retail outlets.

Chilled+ uses cutting-edge software to review a retailer’s existing range against the best sellers according to Nielsen data. CCE then uses this individual data for each store to recommend a tailored range and planogram based on its size and layout.

The company also offers to help re-merchandise the fixture incorporating the recommendations to help independent retailers drive sales.

Darren Goldney, sales and customer development director at CCE, says: "Our aim is to initially reach up to 5,000 independent stores by July. By working with individual retailers we can advise on the best range for each store based on national best sellers, as well as allowing space for each store’s individual best sellers and assist in re-merchandising the fixture. This bespoke approach aims to help retailers ensure they have the best offering for their shoppers by reducing out of stocks, allowing more space for best selling lines, and in turn driving sales.

"By consolidating their range and making the fixture easier to shop, retailers can make a huge difference to their sales and reduce time needed for re-stocking. Convenience shoppers want easy access to what is on their list and to get in and out of the store quickly so by stocking the best sellers and making them easy to find, consumers are more likely to purchase and return to the store time and time again."


Red Bull Sugarfree is this year being backed by a £2m investment. This will focus on the low calorie message, for consumers who want a low calorie, functional energy drink.

Shloer fruit punch limited edition, which proved to be such a success last summer, has been brought back and will be available until the autumn. The summer is a key sales time for the brand.

Nestlé Pure Life is the world’s largest bottled water brand with 60 million glasses consumed worldwide every day (Zenith International).

Since its launch in the UK in 2008, it has achieved a 7.3% share of the plain still market and is now the fifth biggest branded bottled water in the market (Symphony IRI).

Limited edition special offer £1 price-marked packs of Tropicana 330ml juices (original, smooth and Copella English apple) are available through the summer months. Brand owner PepsiCo advises retailers to stock these single-serve juices alongside sandwiches in key impulse areas to encourage linked purchases, particularly at lunchtime.

Flavoured milk brand Yazoo will be available in a new 99p price-marked pack exclusive to the convenience sector until the end of August. Brand owner FrieslandCampina says retailers can really benefit by stocking up ahead as the drink can be stored at ambient temperatures for up to three months.

The 14-strong Barr flavours range has been revitalised with a fresh new look to make it even more appealing to consumers. AG Barr says the brand has doubled in size in the past two years.

Levi Roots has extended its range of soft drinks with a mango & pineapple flavoured carbonate. It is available to the impulse trade in a 500ml bottle and 330ml can, rrp 65p and £1.19 respectively. The 500ml bottle also comes price-marked at 99p.

Sunkist is to sponsor the Beach Break Live, Wakestock and Glass Butter Beach festivals. There will be Sunkist branding on tickets, flyers, websites and programmes, as well as sampling.

In England, Irn-Bru benefits from weekly advertising and high-profile visibility through its sponsorship of Rugby League in association with Sky Sports. In Scotland, a £2.5m campaign incorporating TV, cinema and digital advertising currently supports the brand.

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is launching ’pocket-size’ 375ml PETs of Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero into the grocery multiples. It is Coke’s first new on-the-go pack size in almost 20 years. CCE said research found there was a "clear desire" for an additional option between the 330ml can and 500ml bottle, which would offer additional on-the-go refreshment at an affordable price.

Dairy Crest reports that Frijj is enjoying strong sales. According to Nielsen data, it is the number-one flavoured milk brand with sales worth £47.9m, up more than 9% year-on-year. And the Frijj The Incredibles range reached sales of £2.9m within its first six months of launch.

Nestlé Waters’ San Pellegrino aranciata and limonata in 330ml cans are performing well in the impulse sector with sales up 126% (Symphony IRI data). Launched originally in 1932, the drinks are still sourced in Italy today using fresh orange juice/lemon juice, sparkling water and sugar. Both varieties are free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

energy force

GlaxoSmithKline scientists have worked with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team to create two bespoke Lucozade formulations to support optimal performance during Formula 1 racing. This collaboration is part of GSK’s long-term strategic partnership with McLaren Group. The two formulations were used for the first time at the Malaysian Grand Prix by Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton and their team.

The two drinks are Lucozade Hydration Formulation, which contains a precise mix of essential hydration salts, carbohydrates and proteins, and Lucozade Race Formulation which has been formulated to aid performance in high temperatures and extreme G-forces, but also to help weight management, driver alertness and speed of absorption into the body.


Ian Watmore, operations manager, Elite Garages, Nottingham:

"Sales of soft drinks are a massively important part of our business. It’s a huge category with many different brands and ranges. Britvic has helped us particularly in the past year with our displays and chillers. The solutions they offered helped us make our range stand out. They caught the eye of our customers so much that our sales of soft drinks have gone up significantly this year.

"Another great example of the support I’ve received from Britvic this year is for its Fire & Ice promotion, which ties together Pepsi Max and Doritos. Linking products together that have a natural fit and a fixed price point is potentially a big sales opportunity. Britvic offered us advice, such as positioning Doritos near the chiller and Pepsi Max within the bagged snacks fixture, and provided eye-catching shippers that held both products, to help both ranges stand out to our customers.

"Britvic also helped promote a ’2 for 1’ deal on Doritos and Pepsi Max. Our sales of Pepsi Max increased on the back of this."