Ready to drinks should get the space they deserve, firms say
HOW much fridge space should you allocate for ready-to-drink brands?
With a plethora of fruit ciders and world beers on the market, space in the back-bar chiller can be at a premium.
But the firms behind some of the biggest RTD brands have urged operators to give the category the space they say it warrants.
That the sector has witnessed a resurgence in recent months – from the introduction of new brands to an increased focus on more established ones – only underlines the importance of giving RTDs adequate space in the fridge, according to suppliers.
It’s important that operators offer RTDs in a way that fits with the style of their outlet.
With Freshers’ Week on the horizon – an event estimated to be worth £667 million to the UK on-trade – they insist now is the time for operators to get their fridges in order.
Maxxium UK, which launched 4% ABV Sourz Fusionz in April, said the category can deliver “significant sales” for outlets.
“RTDs provide 16% value to the fridge on average and can often be under-faced,” said Eileen Livingston, marketing controller for Sourz at Maxxium UK.
“Right-sizing this is key to getting the most out of the category.
“There are many categories which are over-faced in the fridge, that will not have any ROS [return on sales] impact by cutting down on them to maximise the opportunities for RTDs.
“Keeping fridges well-stocked and displaying new and top sellers on the top shelf is key.”
This advice was echoed by WKD owner Beverage Brands, which developed WKD Club Edition specifically for the late-night sector earlier this year.
Marketing director Debs Carter said bar and club owners can boost sales of RTDs by ensuring they stock market-leading brands, a variety of flavours, and allocate space for new launches.
“To reflect market volumes, in a dedicated RTD chiller we recommend operators allocate a minimum of 40% space to WKD,” she said.
“In a chiller housing premium packaged drinks, WKD’s share of space should be over 25%.”
Simon Green, marketing director at Global Brands, said operators can boost sales of RTDs by highlighting their versatility and mixability.
The firm is promoting a range of long drinks and cocktails featuring RTD brand Reef (see page 24) and has ramped up its focus on its ready-to-drink cocktail portfolio, which includes VK Mojito and new VK Cosmo. It has also produced a range of ‘fishbowl’ and pitcher sharing serves for its VK range of RTDs.
“VK cocktails are convenient, they reduce waste and they make the latest trends more accessible to consumers and retailers,” said Green.
“They are perfect for summer so we will be encouraging retailers to give ready to drink products the space and focus they deserve, and provide a range which appeals to primary users, ie 18 to 27 year old consumers. Striking POS, the promotion of long drinks and pitchers and ensuring there is a wide range of refreshing flavours can help boost RTD sales.”
The benefit of promoting RTDs’ versatility in long drinks and cocktails was echoed by Livingston at Maxxium.
“It is important to be aware of the occasions that outlets serve, and offer RTDs accordingly,” she added.
“A nightclub, student-led or circuit bar will likely have a higher rate of sale due to the type of occasion the customers are on and their approach to drinking from a repertoire of categories on these more high-energy occasions.
“However, food-led pubs may only see a limited rate of sale as this occasion is not as suited to RTDs.
“This should not be seen as a barrier, however, as using RTDs as part of simple cocktails or in pitcher serves is a great way to create refreshing, fruity long serves to share in a more relaxed environment, and this can also deliver high margins.”
Paul Briscoe, brand manager for Caribbean Twist at Halewood International, said ready to drink cocktails are becoming “increasingly popular” with young adult consumers.
“Caribbean Twist is benefiting from the explosion in popularity of pre-mixed cocktails within the RTD category, with Pina Colada proving to be one of the best-selling flavours in the range,” he said.
And it seems it’s not just ready to drinks and pre-mixed cocktails that are appealing to 18 to 24 year olds.
Distributor First Drinks said its 17% ABV passion fruit liqueur Passoa is a popular base in simple long drinks and more complex cocktails.
“Passoa is easily mixed with fruit juices, like apple, orange, cranberry and grapefruit juice, and with readily-available mixers such as lemonade,” said senior brand manager Victoria Olivier.
“This works well in a jug serve for ‘sharing with friends’ occasions, which are key for this target audience.
“It doesn’t require a mixologist with many years of experience to create a great drink with Passoa.”
Image: Highlighting the versatility of RTDs in long drinks and cocktails can boost sales, drinks firms say.