Room to grow for soft drinks

Low sugar products are “increasingly important” to consumers, according to soft drinks firms.
Low sugar products are “increasingly important” to consumers, according to soft drinks firms.

A selection built around quality products is key, say firms

AN increasingly discerning and health-conscious public is creating opportunities for operators to grow soft drinks sales.
Firms have told SLTN that quality and health are now key considerations in many soft drinks purchases.
Mark Young, sales director for soft drinks brand Zeo, said adults who don’t drink alcohol “struggle to find a soft drink that suits their palate”.
“There is huge opportunity for the on-trade in the soft drink category as there has been a lack of real innovation in recent years,” said Young.
“We believe publicans need to invest the same care and attention in their soft drinks offerings as in their spirits, wine and beers range.”
Amanda Grabham, head of brand marketing for SHS Drinks brand Shloer, said it is “sound commercial practice” for publicans to review their soft drinks range on a seasonal basis “at the very least”.
“The key to driving soft drinks sales is offering consumers a good selection of brands, styles and flavours which will appeal to different age groups and different consumption or social occasions,” said Grabham.
When it comes to seasonal reviews, one time of year is especially important, according to Alan Hay of AG Barr.
“Summer is a key time for soft drinks and the perfect time for licensees to review their range,” said Hay, who also highlighted the importance of quality.
“Licensees should ensure soft drinks are served in a way that will enhance the customer’s experience,” he added.
“Carbonated soft drinks should be served chilled and poured over ice, while bottled water should be chilled to perfection and served with a slice of lemon or lime.”
Hay added that “provenance and product benefits are becoming increasingly important to consumers”.
Maurice Newton of drinks firm CBL, whose range includes water brand Perfectly Clear, said the growing consumer focus on health should be taken into account when building a range.
“Quality products that are lower in sugar are increasingly important for consumers, particularly with the media coverage surrounding obesity,” said Newton.
And Razin Ali, brand manager for Sunmagic, highlighted fruit juice as one of the best healthy options.
“The health benefits of fruit juice and smoothies are undoubtedly key motives for consumers to drink these drinks, with, for example, many of these products providing one of your five-a-day,” said Ali.
“Similarly, juice drinks have benefited from their affordability in times when household budgets have come under a lot of pressure.
“It is therefore worth stocking a range of juice drinks.”