Seize the summer with soft drinks

DON’T forget about soft drinks this summer.

That was the message from various drinks companies, who told SLTN that the category is increasingly significant to bars and pubs.

Therefore operators must understand the trends driving the demand, such as health, said Amy Burgess, senior trade communications manager at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP).

She said: “People are increasingly on the hunt for low-calorie and low- sugar alternatives, without having to compromise on taste.”

Nichola Grant of Highland Spring Group agreed, stating that sparkling water “is a perfect alternative” to use in low and no-alcohol serves “as it is the only mixer with no calories, no sugar, no preservatives and no additives”.

An awareness of on-trend flavours is also important, reckons Jen Draper, marketing director at Franklin & Sons. She said that as consumers are looking “for new taste discoveries”, they are “prioritising quality within their soft drink choices, with many willing to trade up for brands worth paying for”.

Soft drinks which are designed with hot summer days in mind, such as frozen beverages, should also be on operators’ radars.

Emma Hunt, marketing director at Vimto Out of Home – which counts Starslush within its portfolio – said frozen drinks are “increasingly in demand across pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs too”.

Adrian Troy, marketing director at Barr Soft Drinks, said that ultimately operators should seize the opportunity of summertime.

“Summer provides outlets with an opportunity to expand their drinks menus and offer more choice to create interest and excitement within their soft drinks range,” he said.

“This will bring some variety for the increasing number of their customers who do not wish to drink alcohol, without overcomplicating the menu for staff.”