Britvic’s latest Soft Drinks Review has identified an £812 opportunity for every convenience store through the functional wellness drinks segment1, as almost half of people (47%) agree they will eat more foods to support their immune systems going forward2
One in five people have begun taking vitamins since the start of the first lockdown3, with 66% of consumers stating ‘added ingredients to make it healthier’ as important vs 60% pre-COVID4 and 27% want to reduce sugar5 - signalling Purdey’s as perfectly placed to lead the functional wellness segment
The Britvic report has also hailed convenience retailers and their stores as the lifeline for many through the pandemic – proven by the sector’s growth as shopper habits shifted and evolved
The functional wellness drinks segment is presenting the convenience channel with a healthy £27m opportunity this year, equating to an additional £812 per store6, according to the latest Britvic Soft Drinks Review. At a time when the pandemic has shone a light on health and wellness for many, 37% of people are now positively interested in premium soft drinks with added benefits7.
Owing to changing shopper behaviour during the pandemic, categories traditionally associated with food to go were heavily impacted – but a focus on wellness as restrictions continue to ease is set to help retailers regain sales in this area of soft drinks. While overall the category experienced value and volume declines in total convenience8 last year, take home, larger format soft drinks were one of the channel’s outstanding performers. Reaching a third of soft drinks sales and growing 19% (+£117.9m)9, the performance cements 2020 as a year of two halves for the category.
MEETING THE DEMAND FOR HEALTHIER SOFT DRINKS
While healthier alternatives such as low and no sugar options have been gaining ground for some time, the pandemic has shone a light on health and wellness for many. 64% of consumers are prioritising health10 and seeking to integrate wellbeing into nearly all aspects of their lives11, including food and drink.
Phil Sanders, out of home commercial director at Britvic comments: “After the challenges retailers have faced in the past year, we’re dedicated to support our customers as they navigate changing shopper needs, and that includes looking ahead and making them aware of growing soft drink trends. The functional wellness market is currently worth an impressive £240.1m12, and what’s more, shoppers are willing to pay more than double the average price for premium soft drinks with added benefits than a soft drink13 or 34% more14 than the average single serve, which is already priced at a premium.
“It’s vital that retailers are adapting their ranges accordingly to take advantage of this shift in consumer demand. Purdey’s, the UK’s leading sparkling vitality brand, is perfectly placed to lead the wellness soft drinks category. Made with naturally sourced ingredients - real fruit juice, boosted by botanicals and energising B vitamins - it offers a no added sugar energy lift, something we know shoppers are on the lookout for.”
CHANGING SHOPPER HABITS
The pandemic changed consumers’ lives unimaginably and impacted shopping habits in ways that could never have been imagined or forecasted. As millions switched to working from home, lunchtime trade suffered. At the peak of the pandemic in April 2020, 60% of convenience shoppers were working from home15, relying on home kitchens for meals. This move created a change in dynamic for shopper missions, with planned top up shops becoming more important at the expense of on-the-go food and drink16.
Sanders continues: “As supermarkets and online adapted to increased demand in the first lockdown, discounters and local convenience stores all benefited17. Shopping habits shifted sharply from little and often, to less frequent, bigger baskets, with planned top up missions growing in importance from 18% in 2019, to 24% by October 202018 – indicating consistency of new shopper habits even after the initial period of lockdown. Good news for retailers who have adapted their stores and offerings to cater to the needs of local communities.”
The top up mission accelerated its position as the number one reason to visit a convenience store and the share of planned top ups grew19. Unsurprisingly, as the pandemic set in, out of home soft drinks declined as fewer shoppers (-23%) bought less often (-12%)20.
TOP THIRST-QUENCHERS 2020
Three key soft drink needs emerged last year, with ‘energy boost’, ‘in-home refreshment and socialising’ and ‘a new stance of hydration’ heavily impacting category winners. The top five soft drink segments remained as cola, stimulants, fruit carbs, plain water and juice drinks – the former three added £80.3m growth alone – but stimulants was the star contributor by far21.
Sanders concludes: “As they adjusted to the ‘new normal’, consumers sought ‘pick me ups’22 and stimulants, the leading soft drinks category in convenience23, were well placed to benefit. As the channel’s biggest success story, stimulants grew in both take home and on the go, bucking the single serve trend24 and adding £57.2m25 in value. Outgrowing all other soft drinks combined, the segment attracted shoppers to buy more volume per trip at a higher price26, performing especially well in symbols and forecourts.”
Carbonates and mixers also outperformed soft drinks overall, playing a key role in refreshment and socialising at home27. Cola was the largest contributor to carbonates’ growth in convenience, adding £20.5m to channel sales28. Pepsi MAX, the No. 1 sugar free cola in convenience, grew £7.8m and became the third biggest sub-brand in the convenience market in 202029. Traditional mixers were convenience’s fastest growing category, up +47.8%, followed by lemonade (+26%)30. Squash was the in-home hydration hero as consumers turned to the tap, accelerating +21.1% (+£8.2m)31. Robinsons was 2020’s leading squash brand and biggest growth contributor, through its single concentrate and double concentrate ranges and Fruit Creations.
Plain water and flavoured hydration – such as juice drinks, ice tea and water plus - had a more difficult 2020, traditionally strong in on the go formats and transient channels and locations like high street and travel, both hit hard by the pandemic32.
STEPS TO SOFT DRINKS SUCCESS
Within the Soft Drinks Review, Britvic has identified three steps to soft drinks success:
- Protect loyalty in take home - Take home soft drinks shoppers are hugely valuable to convenience versus an average shopper, spending £894 a year versus £446 on average, with spend growing by £58 in 2020. Retailers must work to retain long term loyalty, offering good value versus competitor channels on these formats
- Recover and reset food to go sales – with soft drinks as the leading category bought on food to go missions, it is well placed to support retailers recover and reset sales by having the right range to meet new consumer needs
- Hero functional wellness to drive more value per drink - provide a range of great tasting drinks for consumers to manage their health, whether that be sugar free, low calorie or natural options, or through functional wellness drinks with added benefits that offer a chance for retailers to drive up the cost per drink
The Britvic Convenience & Impulse Soft Drinks Review is available to download here: https://www.paperturn-view.com/?pid=MTY160801
Notes to Editors:
For further press information or to request any infographics from the report, please contact the Britvic team at Cirkle.
Tel: 01494 731 750
All reader enquiries should be directed to: Customer Services, Britvic Soft Drinks on 0345 7581781
1 NielsenIQ RMS, Total Impulse Britvic Defined Wellness Drinks Fair Share Opportunity (£27.2m)/ Number of ACS members (33,500)
2 IGD ShopperVista, Has COVID-19 kick-started new health trends? 10.09.2020
3 IGD ShopperVista, Has COVID-19 kick-started new health trends? 10.09.2020
4 IGD ShopperVista, Has COVID-19 kick-started new health trends? 10.09.2020
5 IGD ShopperVista – 2021 Shopper Trends to Watch
6 NielsenIQ RMS, Total Impulse Britvic Defined Wellness Drinks Fair Share Opportunity (£27.2m)/ Number of ACS members (33,500)
7 Mintel Attitudes towards Premium Soft Drinks: Inc Impact of COVID-19 - UK - April 2020
8 IRI MarketPlace, Total Convenience, Total Soft Drinks, Value/Volume, 52 weeks to 27th December 2020 vs. YA
9 IRI, Total Convenience, Total Soft Drinks, Value Sales, Data to 27th December 2020 vs. Yr Ago
10 Mintel, Drinks to address post covid-19 lifestyle and need state, June 2020
11 Mintel, Drinks to address post covid-19 lifestyle and need state, June 2020
12 NielsenIQ RMS, Total Coverage, Britvic Defined Wellness Drinks, Value Sales, 52 w.e. to 02.01.2021
13 NielsenIQ RMS, Total Coverage Britvic Defined Wellness Drinks £/l vs Soft Drinks average £/l, 52we to 23.1.21
14 NielsenIQ RMS, Total Coverage Britvic Defined Single Serve Wellness Drinks £/l vs Single Serve Soft Drinks average £/l, 52 w.e. 02.01.2021
15 Lumina Intelligence Channel Pulse – Data from 15th June 2020
16 Lumina Intelligence CTP 2020 – Convenience Shopper Missions - October 2020 vs. 2019
17 Kantar Data, Total Grocery, Value Share of Trade Change %, MAT data to w.e 27.12.2020 vs YA
18 Lumina Intelligence CTP 2020 – Convenience Shopper Missions - October 2020 vs. 2019
19 Lumina Intelligence CTP 2020 – Convenience Shopper Missions - October 2020 vs. 2019
20 Kantar Worldpanel, OOH Soft Drinks, Convenience, MAT to 27.12.2020 vs Yr Ago
21 IRI Marketplace, Total Convenience, Total Soft Drinks, Value/Volume, 52 weeks to 27th December 2020 vs YA
22 Lumina Intelligence Future of Convenience Report 2021
23 IRI Marketplace, Stimulants, Total Convenience, Value, 52 weeks to 27th December 2020 vs YA
24 IRI Marketplace, Stimulants, Total Convenience, Value %, 52 weeks to 27th December 2020 vs YA
25 IRI Marketplace, Stimulants, Total Convenience, Value, 52 weeks to 27th December 2020 vs YA
26 Kantar Worldpanel, Stimulants, Total Convenience, Shopper Metrics, 52 weeks to 27th December 2020 vs YA
27 IRI Marketplace, Total Convenience, Total Alcohol, Value, 52 weeks to 27th December 2020 vs YA (+33.2%)
28 IRI Marketplace, Total Convenience, Total Cola, Value, MAT 27th December 2020 vs Yr Ago
29 IRI Marketplace, Total Convenience, Total Cola, Value, 27th December 2020 vs Yr Ago
30 IRI Marketplace, Total Convenience, Soft Drinks, Value, MAT 27th December 2020 vs. Yr Ago
31 IRI Marketplace, Dilutes, Value, 52 weeks to 27th December 2020 vs. YA
32 IRI Marketplace, Total Soft Drinks, Value, 52 weeks to 27th December 2020 vs. YA
33 Kantar Worldpanel, Take Home Panel, Soft Drinks, Convenience, MAT to 27.12.2020 vs. Yr Ago