Once was the time when it was thought a little odd if one adult within a group wanted a soft drink instead of a beer or glass of wine. How times have changed. Last year the booming adult soft drinks category was worth £107m, having grown 6% on 2005 figures, according to Britvic's soft drinks report.
Whereas once the only alternative to a beer was a glass of Coke, today there's a wide range of grown-up drinks. Leading the way is Britvic's J2O, which boasts being the number one packaged on-trade adult soft drink. Of course, it is available for take-home, too, and last summer new PET bottles were launched as an alternative to the brand's traditional glass. Apple & mango and orange & passionfruit are available in PET and to help pub drinkers recognise the brand in a retail environment, the plastic bottles have exactly the same dimensions as the glass (275ml), but actually contain 330ml of drink. They come with a plastic screw cap and have a six-month shelf life.
According to AC Nielsen figures, J2O is worth £42m in the take-home market, having more than doubled its value sales over the past two years.
Britvic marketing director Andrew Marsden comments: "The adult soft drinks category is performing exceptionally well and J2O has driven this growth - last year it accounted for 66% of the £18.5m growth in the category."
Another adult brand that's selling really well is Shloer, the sparkling juice drink. Now a £27.5m brand, Shloer enjoyed 12% value growth last year. In fact, the drink has grown by £18m in the past seven years thanks to repositioning which has brought in thousands of younger female consumers.
A £9m campaign will support Shloer in 2007 in a bid to cement its appeal to these younger consumers. There will be TV advertising and the return of the Shloer Sparkling Summer Screenings of favourite women's movies.
For the independent trade, a 1ltr six-pack was launched earlier this year to allow retailers to stock a range of flavours to give their customers greater choice.
Managing director Mike Coppard comments: "A few years ago we decided we'd try to get younger people to drink the brand and it's been a great success. Women in their 20s and 30s love it. Ninety per cent of it is drunk by females, but we know that kids love it too and because it's a natural drink with no artificials it's fine for them to drink. However, it's not the cheapest drink and we have heard of instances where mums have to hide it from the kids! In a c-store it would probably sell for about £2.15 for a 1ltr bottle, but it's not meant to be consumed every day as it's a bit special. On the other hand, it's not a vintage wine, it's just a good quality soft drink."
Shloer is now available in six varieties, however the red and white are still the best-sellers so any retailer thinking of stocking it for the first time should probably start with these.
First there was Appletiser, the 100% sparkling apple juice drink. Now there's Peartiser, the UK's first 100% natural sparkling pear juice drink. And to get the launch off to a great start, the brand will make use of Appletiser's sponsorship of Friends on E4. There will be six creatives used throughout the year, starting this month with the introduction of Peartiser. The other five will highlight the strength of the Appletiser range and reinforce the brand's 100% pure message. Although the Friends series finished some time ago, the show still has a huge cult following, with fans tuning into the re-runs and therefore seeing the Appletiser/Peartiser sponsorship.