Soft: stronger than ever

SOFT drinks have never been more important to outlets’ drinks sales, if figures from Britvic are anything to go by.

According to the firm’s 2017 Soft Drinks Review for foodservice and licensed channels, 2016 was a “transformational” year for the category – with potential for further growth on the horizon.

Total value sales of soft drinks in UK foodservice and licensed stood at £6.9 billon – representing growth of 3.3% compared to the previous year.

This growth, however, was not uniform across every style of outlet.

Food-led pubs continued to reap the biggest rewards from a robust soft drinks range – with these types of outlets’ value sales of soft drinks up 13.6% on the previous year, reaching a total of £971 million.

Hotels also had a successful year of soft drinks sales, with value growth of 3.7% to £844m, while late night venues experienced a soft drinks value sales dip of 3.9%.

In total, the combined worth of soft drinks across UK food-led and wet-led pubs totalled £1.6bn – up 7.5% on 2015.

And as health continues to play a bigger role in the decision making of customers, it is operators that cater to this – offering a solid range of low and no calorie soft drinks – that stand to benefit, according to Britvic.

Consumers are willing to pay more for premium.

As with other drinks categories, there has also been a distinct shift towards premium products, according to drinks firms.

Earlier this year Nick Yates of Vimto Out of Home said premium soft drinks “are having an increasing impact on the trade”.

“There’s also a growing choice for operators as the market adapts to the trend of craft and artisan soft drinks,” said Yates.

“This applies to how you serve your soft drinks too.

“Consumers are willing to pay more for premium, so we’re also seeing a rise in drinks with a premium look and feel. If the drink is served in the right glass, with the right amount of ice and garnishes, consumers are more likely to stay for that extra drink.”