Soft drinks grow sales despite tough conditions

britvicSoft drinks sales in the UK’s on-trade continue to grow despite tough conditions, led by rises in cola, lemonade and mixers.

According to the latest Britvic Soft Drinks Review, sales in the leisure channel, including pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants, increased by 2% while the total soft drinks market grew value to £10.3billion – topping the £10billion mark for the first time.

Soft drinks generated value sales in the leisure channel of more than £2.8billion, retaining its position as the third largest category after beer and spirits.

The annual review from Britvic is based on independent market data from research groups Nielsen and CGA for the year up to December 28, 2013.

Britvic remained the number-one supplier in the leisure channel for soft drinks, with value sales of more than £1.3billion, largely driven by the success of the Pepsi.

Cola retained the largest share in the leisure channel with value sales of £1.2billion and grew by 1%

Lemonade halted its previous static performance by rising at 4% in value to be worth over £416million in bars, pubs and clubs.

The popularity of spirits gave a boost to mixers, with the segment growing by 2%, while juice drinks remained static in terms of value and experienced a minor drop in volume sales.

Draught sales accounted for more than half of all soft drink sales and carbonates remained the most popular type of soft drink, with a 77% share and value sales of more than £2.2billion.

Food-led outlets dominated the soft drinks market, with sales growing by 4% value and reaching more than £2billion, supporting the casual dining trend.

Paul Graham, general manager at Britvic Soft Drinks, said: “Whilst other categories suffered in the wake of the continued economic challenges, soft drinks saw steady growth and value sales surpassed the £10billion mark for the first time.

“Although remaining flat, the leisure channel proved its resilience, with soft drinks faring better than other segments and holding on to its position as third-biggest category in FMCG after beer and wine.

“Shaped by multiple consumer trends, such as value, premiumisation and quality, we have seen a wealth of innovation hit the market, all of which has helped to keep the sector relevant and exciting amongst a diverse audience.

“We are confident that the overall successful performance of soft drinks and the continued evolution of the category is paving the way for a positive and exciting future.”

Britvic has also launched a new “category vision” to show how soft drinks can unlock an incremental £2.4billion of category growth by 2020.

Developed using world-class insight, it outlines how, by working in partnership with retailers and licensees, behaviours can be changed so that the soft drinks category can engage with more consumers, on more occasions and in more environments.

With organic growth predicted by OC&C Strategy Consultancy to remain stable over the next few years at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7% to 2020, the Britvic Soft Drinks Vision has been created to accelerate those predictions, increasing consumption and delivering sustainable category growth.

The Britvic Soft Drinks Vision details how growth can be unlocked through eight category drivers. These can be delivered by changing behaviour to better meet consumer needs, better leverage daily occasions and deliver better engagement at point of purchase.

Claire Handford-Jones, director of category at Britvic Soft Drinks, said: “At Britvic we pride ourselves on being committed to growing the soft drinks category and are delighted to be able to reveal our vision for growth.

“The growth experienced in recent years is testament to the resilience of the category. However, it is a mature category and we recognise that in order to unlock these opportunities we must engage with more consumers, on more occasions and in more environments.

“Our goal is to continue to work in partnership with customers to create solutions that change shopper and consumer behaviours through better meeting needs, unlocking occasions and inspiring at point of purchase.

“By doing this, we believe the category is in a great position to unlock incremental sales of £2.4billion by 2020 and look forward to working with our customers to capitalise on this huge and exciting growth opportunity.”

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