Soft drinks saw a 2.8% rise in sales to £7.2bn during 2012 in the grocery, convenience and impulse channels, according to the latest research.

In Britvic’s Soft Drinks Review, in association with Mintel, Nielsen and CGA, cola has maintained its position as the most popular soft drink, accounting for 22% of take-home sales. Water products with added health benefits also saw a growth in sales of 7.4%, reaching £199m in value.

The soft drinks manufacturer said the impulse channel experienced a 1.6% rise in value, which Britvic added was driven by products such as glucose stimulant drinks. This category also performed well as a whole during the year, growing almost 10% in both value and volume.

Other highlights of the research included a 3.6% decline in volumes in the own-label soft drinks category.

Paul Graham, customer management director at Britvic, said: “Even though our golden summer of sport didn’t quite drive the level of soft drinks sales expected by some, there are still many reasons to be optimistic about soft drinks and the future of the category. It’s about evolution and meeting new consumer needs in an engaging way.”

Back in November, Britvic revealed that it had agreed a merger deal with AG Barr worth around £1.4bn.