Sales of soft drinks in the impulse channel have grown ahead of the grocery multiples for the first time, reserving its 3% decline last year, according to the latest Britvic Soft Drinks Report, published this week.

Impulse sales rose 7%, while sales in the foodservice channel also reversed their 2009 decline, up 9.4% in value to £284m. Cold hot drinks saw the biggest value rise, up 93%, which the firm said was driven by Starbucks Discoveries and Double Shot launches, and the “transformation” of Lipton Ice Tea.

In the impulse sub-category, cola held the highest share at 26.4% of the market, up 4.3%. Second was glucose stimulant drinks up 19.4% to a 22.7% share, followed by fruit carbonates, up 8.9% to a 9.3% market share.

Commenting on how bakery high street outlets can capitalise on the growth of the soft drinks market, Kate Fletcher, business unit director - convenience & impulse channel, said bakery retailers need to ensure they get a balanced range of products “making sure they are covering the major segment of the market”.

She said a general point would be to have choice within each category, perhaps of two or three options, as well as ensuring you offer something for children, with juicy drinks key players in this market.

Murray Harris, Britvic customer management director, added: “2010 was another a tough year for UK consumers, but soft drinks remained resilient. Although people were watching their pounds, they were still willing to spend a comparatively small amount on a soft drink, whether it’s at the train station on the way to work or at their local retailer on the way home from school.”

The report is based on independent Nielsen and CGA market data.