Changing habits prompt 500ml format for RTD

VK Big BlueChanging drinking habits have prompted Global Brands to launch its ready-to-drink (RTD) brand VK in a new 500ml format.

Calling it “The Big Blue”, the drinks company has developed the larger version of the 275ml VK Blue for drinking over ice in a pint glass and as an ingredient in sharing serves as well as traditionally straight from the bottle.

Available in both the on- and off-trade, the new format was created to capitalise on the evolving drinking habits of RTD consumers who are spending longer in bars and choosing longer drinks.

Global Brands marketing director Simon Green said: “RTDs are facing more competition than ever when it comes to fridge space but the category is still in growth and worth £419million to the on-trade.

“The brands that are winning have evolved, adapted and innovated to find new ways of fulfilling today’s consumer’s needs.”

He said it was building on VK’s position as the best-performing RTD in the on-trade, growing at 19.6 per cent, according to CGA figures. Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer, owned by Halewood International, has been a leading driver in the RTD market through its 500ml format.

Simon continued: “The resurgence of RTDs is partly due to the popularity of 500ml, which is worth £82million to the on-trade and growing at 30 per cent.

“The category commands a higher retail selling price and therefore increases spend per head, but the trade was missing out by not having a well-established traditional RTD in the mix.

“‘The Big Blue’ fulfils a number of roles for the consumer, from a refreshing ‘straight from the bottle’ serve to a colourful, great-tasting base for pitcher cocktails.

“VK Big Blue is the first of the traditional RTDs to move into 500ml and, following the phenomenal success of a new generation of RTD brands such as Hooch and Hooper’s, we’re confident that other VK flavours will soon be joining The Big Blue.”

The launch of VK Blue in 500ml format will be supported as part of VK’s Mix Up Your VKend campaign which involves associations with live music, social media and customer activation via point-of-sale materials including strut cards, branded fishbowls, pitchers, cocktail menus and experiential activity.

The vodka-based VK range, formerly Vodka Kick, also includes VK Ice, VK Cheeky, VK Orange, VK Cherry, VK Tropical and VK Apple, all at four per cent ABV.

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