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Customers | Oliver Crick, GB Category Development Director

Five opportunities to drive soft drinks growth this summer

As we slowly continue on the road out of lockdown this summer, our Taste Tomorrow category vision has helped us identify five key opportunities to help our customers grow soft drinks sales:


1. Together Time

At-home socialising is now 21% bigger than it was pre-Covid[1] – and we expect it to stay that way. Retailers can bring the experience to life by creating eye-catching displays with complete food and drink solutions. With three in ten (28%) adults in GB now teetotal, soft drinks should form an important part of this[2].

The picture for pubs and bars is also a positive one, with spend now 20% higher than pre-Covid levels. And restaurants have seen a healthy response since re-opening indoors[3].

We’ve developed a five-step plan to help hospitality operators navigate the next few months successfully, complete with equipment guidance, menu advice, product offers and activation support – available here.


2. Sporting Events

International tournaments like UEFA EURO 2020TM  attract mainstream viewers in a way that club football doesn’t, and gives them an excuse to arrange a get-together with friends and family.

In retail, soft drinks is the best-performing category at tournament time (+17% in grocery during the last World Cup[4]) – and there’s a big opportunity in hospitality, too. It’s important to stock key sectors like colas, carbonates and mixers, and to create themed displays featuring brands that are involved in the football. For pub operators, that also means promoting the matches they’ll be showing.

Watch our head of commercial partnerships talk to convenience retailers about maximising sales when the football’s on.


3. Help Me Through My Day

We’ve all got catching up to do with loved ones, and the commute is making a comeback for some. With more to fit in to our schedules than we’ve become used to, uplifting treats and energy lifts have an important role to play – at home, at work and on-the-go.

Sectors like RTD coffee and energy drinks have taken off in lockdown by successfully aligning themselves to home-based consumption, and now they’re ready to cater for more people getting out and about again, too.

RTD coffee is the fastest growing sector in soft drinks[5], and we believe there’s a further £183m in incremental growth to unlock over the next five years[6]. Find out how convenience stores can make the most of the RTD Coffee Segment. 


4. Healthier Choices

Health and wellness has been high on the agenda for a long time, and post-Covid, it’s more important than ever for consumers[7], so retailers need to strike a balance between a range of low and no sugar options and classic favourites to offer shoppers more choice.

We recommend focussing on a variety of key areas, including sugar free, caffeine free, plant-based, low/no alcohol, and drinks with functional benefits. Watch our latest advert from Diet Coke, the original zero sugar cola! 


5. Responsible Living

People have had time to reset and rethink over the last year. Almost 60% of adults are now considering their impact on the environment, and 52% want products that are fully recyclable[8].

As an industry we must meet this demand – as well as being the right thing to do for the planet, it’s critical to driving sales. We recommend prioritising products with fully-recyclable primary and secondary packaging, and where possible, that are made from recycled materials. Find out more about how we’re making our packaging more sustainable. 

If you’d like more information, please get in touch with us on [email protected].


[1] Kantar Covid Grocery Update - First Steps out of Lockdown, April 2021

[2] YouGov poll, January 2021, 1,672 GB adults

[3] Kantar Environment Update data to 25th May

[4] Nielsen World Cup 2018 Grocery Mults 4 w/e 14 Jul 18 vs LY

[5] Nielsen Total GB Value | YTD 24.4.21

[6] CCEP Estimates based on Nielsen Total GB FY 2020

[7] IGD Appetite for Change Report - How have consumer attitudes to healthy and sustainable diets changed in the wake of COVID-19? September 2020

[8] Kantar: The Big Questions, Feb 21