In the wake of the pandemic, shoppers are on the hunt for healthier soft drinks. Danone asks whether your range can capitalise on this trend.

Health continues to be an influential trend in soft drinks, but it can mean different things to different people. For some it means cutting down on calories, while for others reducing alcohol intake or consuming more natural ingredients are the priorities.

Although the trend is well established, the Covid-19 pandemic has intensified it, with 82% of shoppers wanting to pursue healthier consumption habits in 20211. Among shoppers’ key focuses within this trend are soft drinks, often thought of as having high sugar content.

Low sugar alternatives have therefore been experiencing massive growth ahead of full sugar options, increasing at +10% against the previous year2. Given that research shows reducing sugar is the second highest priority in shoppers’ healthy eating goals3 – beaten only by eating more fruit and veg – the trend is likely to continue.

Beyond fizzy drinks

Such shifts make it crucial for convenience stores to stock a variety of low sugar options within the soft drinks category, allowing the channel to capitalise on the expected growth.

Vovic Touch of Fruit Vitality

When considering low sugar soft drinks, there’s a world beyond the fizzy staples of cola or lemonade. Flavoured water has been capturing the attention of many shoppers, and now accounts for a quarter of the British water market2 and £49m in the convenience channel4.

Shoppers’ increased focus on their health during the pandemic means that functional beverages which serve nutritional requirements are an exciting opportunity for retailers. According to KPMG, the global functional beverage market is predicted to grow to over $208 billion by 20245.

Functional drinks include those with added vitamins, which can be a great option for shoppers interested in more than quenching their thirst. One example of this is Volvic Touch of Fruit Pineapple & Orange Vitality, which includes added vitamin B6 to help reduce tiredness and fatigue.

Flavour favour

Of course, flavour and taste are as important for low sugar soft drinks as their higher sugar peers, so it’s important to provide a range. Orange has been identified as the second bestselling flavour in soft drinks, followed by lemon and apple2.

Balancing this, limited space means that convenience stores must consider the range carefully to optimise performance. Strong performers should be put in the best places on the shelf, as well as given additional facings to maintain availability.

Shops should also minimise duplication and replace badly performing products with new and exciting ones. As part of landing a new listing successfully and getting it in to as many hands as possible, the focus must be around the product on the shelf, making customers aware of it, and helping shoppers navigate the aisle to find it.

All this can help retailers capitalise on consumers’ focus on health as we emerge from the pandemic. The right range of flavours and nutritional benefits, coupled with proper merchandising, can ensure maximum success for convenience.



1 Dunnhumby | Health: Through the Customer Lens – Reflections as we enter 2021
2 IRI Marketplace | Total Market | L52wks to 24/01/21
3 IGD ShopperVista | IGD Appetite for Change | Dec 20
4 IRI Marketplace | Total Convenience | L52wks data to 24/01/21
5 FoodBev Media: ‘Top five Beverage Trends for 2020-2021’