Sun shines on soft drinks sales

Good weather still the biggest driver, report says

• Bottled water and carbonated drinks were the winners last summer, according to the report.

SUNNY weather remains the single biggest driver of soft drinks sales, a new report by the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) has concluded.

According to the organisation’s Creating New Choices study, good weather has a positive impact on the category as a whole, with last July’s heatwave credited with bolstering the value of soft drinks sold in the UK by 4.1% to £15.6 billion in 2013; volumes were up 2% to more than 14.5bn litres.
Bottled water was the star performer in the UK, according to the BSDA report, with last summer’s sunshine said to have helped lift volumes 10.4% in 2013 to 2360m litres.
And the organisation reckons there’s scope for bottled water sales to grow further in the on-trade, despite what it highlights as the ongoing challenges of selling to budget-conscious consumers and the increase in the popularity of tap water.
“While sales through the on-premise channel have seen recovery, the bottled water category still has a way to go to reach historic levels,” said the BSDA report. “In addition, increased demand for tap water in restaurants poses a threat to sales.
“The UK bottled water market has opportunities to increase. Per person consumption is currently standing at 37.4 litres per person versus the European average of 115.1 litres per person.”
Aside from bottled water, still and juice drinks and energy drinks were also strong performers last year.
The volume of still and juice drinks sold in the UK climbed 6.2% to 1465m litres, while energy drinks saw a 5.1% uplift to 500m litres.
The largest single category within the soft drinks market with a 44.8% market share by volume, carbonates saw a modest increase of 0.9% to 6.5bn litres in 2013. However, the value of carbonated soft drinks sold rose at more than twice the rate of the volume growth (up 2.5% to £8925 million in 2013), which the BSDA said was partly due to companies passing on the increase in the cost of raw materials.
Gavin Partington, BSDA director general, said despite the “tough economic climate, 2013 confirmed that warm, sunny weather remains the single most effective driver of soft drinks consumption”.
“Last year’s sales increase, buoyed by some much-needed warm, sunny weather, should serve as a reminder that this sector continues to provide opportunities for growth,” he said.