Producers and distributors say licensees who stock a range that appeals to both adults and children stand to benefit.
Dave Turner, trade communications manager at Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), said soft drinks are currently worth £3.9 billion in the UK on-trade, and the number of soft drinks servings has increased.
The soft drinks category is particularly important for those outlets that offer food, he said.
“Pubs over-index in the incidence of soft drinks with food at every eating occasion, apart from early evening, which is a traditional alcohol occasion,” said Turner.
“However, soft drinks incidence in the late afternoon occasion is growing ahead of the market.
“With more food and drink being bought on promotion out of home, outlets that can offer soft drinks as part of a meal deal are sure to see increased customer engagement.”
Adrian Troy, head of marketing at Irn-Bru owner AG Barr, said he expects demand for soft drinks to remain high in the coming months, even in the event of another wet summer.
Quoting figures from Nielsen, he said that impulse sales of soft drinks increased in Scotland during last year’s damp summer.
The key to making the most of soft drinks sales, said Troy, is to ensure that the range is right.
He encouraged operators to stock up on well-known brands, as well as considering other options such as non-alcoholic ‘mocktails’.
Troy said pub customers are now “seeking something a little bit different and interesting when it comes to soft drinks”.
Image – Sales of soft drinks are on the up.