The soft drinks category is now worth more than £2.4bn in convenience1 – £113,000 in value per store per year2 – making it the third most valuable category in the channel3. And, with one in four adults who drink alcohol in the UK saying they’re keen to cut down this year4, soft drinks are arguably more important than ever.

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Cherry cropped

The biggest soft drinks sectors in convenience are cola, energy and flavoured carbonates, with smaller emerging segments like ready-to-drink coffee delivering rapid growth of more than 30% year on year5.

Within cola, nearly 70% of sales come from the Coca-Cola range, which includes Coca-Cola Original Taste, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke6. Meanwhile, Monster is delivering the most value growth for the convenience channel in energy7. Fanta is still the number one in flavoured carbonates, and Costa Coffee RTD is the second biggest ready-to-drink cold coffee brand8.

Demand for low and zero sugar options – across all segments – has increased in recent years, so it’s important to stock these alongside original variants. Shoppers also like experimenting with different flavours from their favourite brands, such as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Cherry and Diet Coke Sublime Lime. That’s why maintaining a strong core range while offering variety in the chiller is key.

Listen to Coca-Cola Europacific Partners’ (CCEP’s) category director Oliver Crick explain the importance of soft drinks in convenience:

Opportunities for growth

Over the last six months Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) has updated its Taste Tomorrow soft drinks category vision, to help identify key opportunities for growth for its customers.

Healthier choices. 89% of shoppers are trying to improve their diet, with 29% specifically focused on sugar reduction9. It’s important to help shoppers make the right health decisions for them, by offering options that reduce or remove ingredients like sugar, caffeine and dairy, as well as those with additional ingredients that deliver functional benefits. Two-thirds of the volume of soft drinks CCEP produces in GB is now low or no sugar (40% more than 10 years ago)10.

Responsible living. As more consumers are making environmentally-friendly, sustainable or ethical purchases11, dedicating space on-shelf to those products with the strongest sustainability credentials is becoming more important. From late September onwards, CCEP will be using 100% recycled plastic (*excluding label and cap; manufacturing from the end of September 2021) in all on-the-go bottles across its entire range and the packs will remain 100% recyclable*. All of its Coca-Cola multi-pack cans now come in recyclable cardboard sleeves. 

Together time and getting through the day. From energy boosts and uplifting treats for shoppers on-the-go, to mealtimes, nights in and workouts, there’s a soft drink for every occasion. Finding the right balance between at-home and on-the-go packs in-store is key to taking full advantage. Adding theatre to in-store displays can boost sales around key calendar moments like Halloween, Christmas or sporting events.

Value. Research shows shoppers expect to be saving more money in the year ahead12. Accounting for more than 60% of total soft drink sales in independent and symbol convenience stores13, price-marked packs (PMPs) offer visible value – which can help to reassure shoppers who are spending carefully.

Hear more from Oliver Crick about the growth opportunities for soft drinks:

Key numbers

£113,000

what soft drinks are worth in value per store per year14

60%

the proportion of total soft drink sales in independent and symbol convenience stores driven by PMPs15

Number 3

the third biggest shopper mission in convenience is now meal for tonight16

Plan your shelf

● Group soft drink segments together and give double facings to best-sellers, to avoid running out of stock at key times throughout the day
● 41% of soft drink shoppers are on a food-to-go mission17. Place soft drinks alongside complementary categories like snacks or sandwiches to drive linked purchases, and use clear pricing and promotions to grab shoppers’ attention
● Ensure you have a balance of at-home and on-the-go pack formats, so you can cater for different consumer occasions

Top five CCEP products

Top tips

● Core best-sellers: Dedicate space to best-sellers in key segments like cola, energy and flavoured carbonates – including double facings where needed
● Low- and no-sugar options: Stock a wide range of low- and no-sugar variants, and position them alongside the original alternatives, so it’s easy for shoppers to choose the one they want
● New products: Remove slower-selling lines to make room for well supported new products that excite shoppers, like Monster Nitro or Monster Mule
● Sustainability matters: Stock products with the strongest sustainability credentials, including Coca-Cola’s 100% rPET packs (*excluding label and cap; manufacturing from the end of September 2021)

Oliver Crick outlines seven steps to soft drinks success:

 

NB: The recommended prices on CCEP PMPs are intended only as a guide for retailers, and there are plain packs available as well 

Sources
1 AC Nielsen, Total Impulse MAT Val to end 19.06.21
2 HIM!, Annual Category Value: Size of The Prize July 2019
3 AC Nielsen, Total Store Read, Total Impulse MAT Val w/e 19.06.21
4 Alcohol Change UK, 2020, Press release: 6.5 million people plan to do Dry January 2021, up from 3.9 million in 2020 | Alcohol Change UK
5-8 AC Nielsen, Total Impulse, MAT Val to end 19.06.21
9 IGD Living Healthier After Covid 2020.
10 TiF FY Report 2020
11 Accenture, ‘Covid-19: New habits are here to stay for retail consumers’, August 2020
12 IGD Shopper Focus Nov 20
13 AC Nielsen, Total Impulse, MAT Val to end 19.06.21
14 HIM!, Annual Category Value: Size of The Prize July 2019
15 AC Nielsen Total Impulse MAT Val to end 19.06.21
16 IGC Shopper Vista, Jan 2021
17 HIM MCA CTP 2019
18 AC Nielsen, Total Impulse, MAT Val to end 19.06.21
19 Nielsen, Total Coverage, MAT Val to end 19.06.21
20-22 AC Nielsen, Total Impulse, MAT Val to end 19.06.21