Holly Sparrow Marketing Executive, Radnor Hills

Holly Sparrow is Marketing Executive at Radnor Hills, who recently introduced Radnor Plus Energy, a range of lightly sparkling Natural Energy Waters. A healthy alternative to other energy drinks, they join Radnor Hills’ bestselling portfolio of spring waterbased soft drinks and waters. Holly spoke to Wholesale Manager.

How long have you been in your job?

I have been working at Radnor Hills since January 2016.

What does your job involve?

I look after all our own brand marketing strategies, driving awareness and brand recognition through a number of channels including wholesale, foodservice, retail, education, Out of Home and B&I.

How would you sum up the Radnor Hills brand’s history?

Radnor Hills started when our MD William Watkins returned from University having read Agriculture and Food Marketing and decided to diversify part of his family farming business into a mineral water company. He started packing cuplets of water for the airline industry and for two years he sold, with relative success, from the back of his car. Last year Radnor Hills installed their eighth high speed production line, officially opened by the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones. This brand new state of the art technology was a result of a £6m investment and enables plastic preforms to be blown into bottles, filled, capped, wrapped and palletised in one fully automated production line, capable of filling 33,000 bottles per hour.

What are the current trends in soft drinks and waters and how are you addressing them in NPD?

It’s really important to keep our products current and on-trend, as the market moves so quickly. We identified that the functional water category was growing, so we launched our Radnor+ Energy range. The market for zeroalcohol drinks with adult appeal is also on the move, and bringing authentic, traditional favours to the table is the name of the game. Our Heartsease Farm brand taps into the growing audience for non-alcoholic premium drinks that taste just as good and look just as appealing as alcoholic beverages.

What are your core products?

Radnor’s starting point has always been our spring water, but we’ve built a varied portfolio of other products including Radnor Splash, our flavoured water, which is one of our best sellers, Heartsease Farm, our premium nonalcoholic alternative, our school compliant drinks ranges Radnor Fizz and Fruits, one of the top selling products in schools, our fruit juice and juicy water range Fruella and Fruella Hydrate, and our latest concoction Radnor+ Energy water. We also offer a variety of formats, including glass, plastic and tetra pak.

How did the development of the Radnor+ Energy range come about? Who is it aimed at?

The water market has been growing for the past three years. This has also given rise to a new category which is much smaller but nevertheless growing at a similar rate, called ‘Functional Waters.’ Functional Waters are all about hydration, but with added benefits or active ingredients.

These benefits can be varied and tend to follow consumer trends and demands. The energy market is in growth but is dominated by high sugar options, so we wanted to create the ultimate energy drink, with natural caffeine and zero sugar. Radnor+ Energy is aimed at onthe- go consumers wanting fast hydration with a convenient energy boost.There are a lot of energy drinks.

What’s different about Radnor+ Energy?

Our Energy Water tastes amazing! We did taste panels to get it right, tasting against competitors. We knew that if the product was going to work, it really needed to taste the best. Radnor+ Energy is made with a natural caffeine source, coffeine. It’s completely sugar-free, which is vital, as health-conscious shoppers don’t want to consume ‘empty calories’.

Which channels are you selling it through? What response have you had?

Like all our products Radnor+ Energy is available through most channels but mainly wholesale, foodservice and b&I. We’ve had a fantastic response, mainly from people who can’t believe how great it tastes!

What marketing support are you giving Radnor+ Energy?

Radnor+ Energy’s brand activation programme is underway. The ‘Radnor+ Energy Challenge’ will be visiting universities, leisure centres, travel forecourts, gyms and sporting events, with fantastic prizes up for grabs, plus sampling and free product giveaways! We’re also teaming up with some of the biggest online influencers to introduce our brand to their followers.

How are you helping your wholesale customers grow their business?

We offer wholesale customers a ‘one stop shop’ for soft drinks, producing everything from premium glass water to flavoured and functional waters on our site. You can order it all and receive it as one delivery on mixed pallet loads. We also offer support on consumer trends in soft drinks.

And finally, what are your wholesale channel plans for 2019?

We have lots of exciting plans ahead, including a new canning line, giving wholesalers yet another format of products.