With today’s consumer ever-more pressed for time, the need to be able to find everything in one place has never been greater. So bakery retailers need to stock the right soft drinks to offer consumers with their lunchtime sandwich or afternoon hot savoury.

The latest research shows the soft drinks market has returned to a high level of growth, up 6.6% in 2010 (Nielsen, Total Coverage) from growth of 2% in 2009, according to GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Impulse sales have returned to positive growth, up 7% last year, from -2.6% growth in 2009. All major soft drink categories saw increases last year, including the ’good for me’ sector (up 4%), which had seen falling sales in the midst of the recession. Sports and Energy drinks saw the highest growth, up almost 17% growing £122m in value in the past year (Nielsen, Total Coverage 02.10.10), followed by fizzy drinks (up around 8%), and juice drinks (up around 6%), says GSK. The growth in the sports and energy sector has been primarily driven by Lucozade, claims the firm.

The soft drinks manufacturer says NPD really helps to drive the top performing segments, and it certainly cannot be accused on resting on its laurels when it comes to innovation. Last month it launched a whole host of new drinks on to the market: Lucozade Energy Blackcurrant, Lucozade Sport Lite Orange, Lucozade Sport Cherry, and Ribena Sparkling in blackcurrant and raspberry varieties.

According to the latest convenience store data from Nielsen (to 25.12.10), the top 10 ’drink now’ brands made up nearly 60% of the total soft drinks category sales. These were: Coca Cola, Lucozade, Red Bull, Diet Coke, Lucozade Sport, Ribena, Oasis, Dr Pepper, Fanta and Volvic.

What else is new?

Coca-Cola Enterprise’s (CCE) latest activity includes: the launch of the Coca-Cola ’Open Happiness’ campaign last month, which aims to recruit a new generation of consumers; a new Coca-Cola Zero ad campaign, with a new television creative; the launch of a new Relentless variant Libertus; and the launch of the new Powerade ION4 drink. The new Powerade variety, an isotonic sports drinks, has been developed with sports scientists and will be used by Team GB and ParalympicsGB to help them prepare for London 2012, says the firm. It is available in Berry & Tropical, Cherry and Orange varieties and is being supported by in-store POS and a new marketing campaign. Its ’Open More Business’ initiative shares evidence based insights on how people shop the soft drinks category, so should be a key tool for retailers when deciding on their ideal range, says the firm.

AG Barr’s Rockstar Energy Drink is also hoping to boost its presence through a new multi-year sponsorship deal with MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo. Special activities and promotions will be run across all channels, giving retailers and consumers the chance to win VIP weekends and meet Jorge Lorenzo at the Great Britain MotoGP on 12 June at Silverstone, according to Adrian Troy, head of marketing.

Points to think about

Source: GlaxoSmithKline
l Stock a range that meets shoppers’ needs and is easy to manage in-store 60% of category sales come from just 10 brands, so it is key to stock the top brand products, not just low-priced alternatives.
l Support new products and keep your range up to date to align to changing shopper demands 80% of sales come from just 20% of SKUs.
l Give your customers value for money.
l Over 70% of people are likely to buy a product that has a price-marked pack.
l Value isn’t the same for everyone. But remember, lowest price doesn’t offer the highest margins.