Health and nutrition are key factors behind sales of adult soft drinks, according to recent research by Mintel. With customers also willing to spend more on premium products across all grocery categories, companies such as Bottlegreen and Shloer, which have both introduced 'premium' impulse products, have enjoyed a sales boost.
Mintel's report says more shoppers are looking for drinks with a significant juice content. With this in mind, brands such as J2O, Ocean Spray and Appletiser have been quick to emphasise their 'natural' qualities.
It may also be worth stocking iced tea and coffee. Despite still being a niche sector, the likes of Tetley and Metro Drinks have added new products to the category, which is the fastest growing in volume terms.
The Bottlegreen Drinks Company, which recently relaunched its pressé range and introduced a ready-to-drink still elderflower variant, has benefited from a willingness to trade up to 'premium' products.
Marketing manager Matthew Langley explains: "The trend that has emerged recently is the rise in popularity of premium cordials. Bottlegreen is experiencing 34% year-on-year growth. There has also been a move towards still drinks and a move away from some carbonates. This is down in part to the health concerns associated with fizzy drinks but also because the quality of still drinks has improved."
Langley says there has also been a rise in the number of people looking to buy tabletop premium soft drinks and adds: "More shoppers are looking to buy a soft drink to put on the table for dinner. While the premium category is relatively small, it is also extremely active with consumers becoming less price sensitive."
Shloer, which only 10 years ago was aimed predominantly at women aged over 45, is now looking to appeal to consumers down to the age of 25. New packaging is to be phased in throughout the summer in an attempt to give the brand a contemporary look. Filming of a new TV advert - part of a £3.5m campaign - is underway and shoppers can try Shloer for free through a promotion on 4x275ml multipacks. A new non-alcoholic Bucks Fizz has also been introduced and the peach variant will be replaced by mango & passionfruit.
Shloer marketing director Mike Coppard says: "Becoming a privately owned company a year ago has given us the chance to move forward with a £10m investment package - the largest the brand has seen. A new TV ad will be screened from mid-May through to August. It's a very exciting time for the brand."
Coppard believes it's important retailers stock up on adult soft drinks at particular times of the year and adds: "Although adult soft drinks sell well throughout the year, sales obviously go up in the summer. Particular days are also important - Shloer sold 25% more on Mother's Day this year."
Appletiser bosses are also recommending retailers stock up for the summer after data from AC Nielsen revealed summer sales of the sparkling juice drink increased by 34% compared with average sales for the rest of the year. The figures also reveal sales of Appletiser's 275ml bottle during July 2005 were 65.7% higher and sales of 330ml cans were up 43%.
Summer sales were also given a boost last year with an on-pack promotion to win a diamond worth £50,000.
Appletiser senior brand manager Caroline Bonpain says: "Appletiser provides the perfect accompaniment to any summer social occasion. The increased sales during this key period provide fantastic profit opportunities for retailers, so our advice would be to place summer soft drinks in a prominent position."