As lockdown restrictions have eased, 61% of shoppers now claim they expect to consume on-the-go soft drinks even more[1], identifying a renewed opportunity for convenience stores across the country. Britvic has released independent research that aims to help retailers better prepare their soft drinks ranges as shoppers navigate the return to ‘normality’, and demand for drink-now formats increases.

Phil Sanders, out of home commercial director at Britvic, comments: “Soft drinks is a hugely valuable category in convenience, worth £2.3bn[2], but macro trends are influencing what products consumers choose and where they choose to buy them. Throughout the pandemic, many retailers remerchandised their soft drinks ranges, upweighting larger formats in chillers and freeing space on shelves for bigger bottles. While these formats will remain an important part of retailers’ offerings, our research shows that on-the-go soft drinks are very much back in business, and there is a clear opportunity for retailers to drive sales as a result”.

Of the 2,000 Brits who participated in the survey, just under a third (29%) are already enjoying soft drinks on-the-go once a day[3], and more than half (58%) claim to do so at least once a week[4].

Sanders continues: “Consumers intend to continue seeking out on-the-go soft drinks as they return to routines of old or get out and about in new ways. Retailers, therefore, need to offer their customers the right drinks for the right occasions, and back well-known brands such as Tango, Robinsons and Pepsi MAX® which shoppers know and trust.

“We know that during the pandemic soft drinks remained the number one category bought on a food to go mission,[5] and our latest research reflects this, with a quarter of those surveyed saying the reason they buy soft drinks on-the-go is to have them with food at lunchtime[6]. Retailers should be including soft drinks in their meal deal solutions, clearly signposting the offer in-store and encouraging cross-category purchases to maximise the opportunity.”

Britvic’s research has also uncovered the types of drinks shoppers are looking for when on-the-go. Nine out of 10 shoppers say that flavour and taste are important considerations when choosing a soft drink, and seven out of 10 say that sugar content or lack thereof is important[7]. In fact, sugar-free carbonates are the most sought out options (54%)[8], with the latest innovations from well-known brands such as Pepsi MAX Lime, Tango Sugar Free Dark Berry and 7UP Free Cherry presenting a strong line up that should form the basis of retailers’ offerings – reduced-sugar drinks that don’t compromise on great flavour.

“To take full advantage of the on-the-go opportunity, retailers should consider shoppers’ path to purchase, and not just at the chiller. We know that a macro trend influencing consumers is the desire to seek elevated experiences[9], especially when it comes to seasons and events. Whether that be Halloween, or in the run up to Christmas when people will be out and about getting their shopping sorted or on their way to parties, retailers should try to capture shoppers’ attention before they even reach the chiller. Utilising the tools already at their disposal – POS materials, social media channels and high-visibility placements such as checkout displays and gondola ends – will allow them to do just that, maximising impulse sales this autumn and beyond.”

[1] Research commissioned by Britvic, July 2021 (2,000 shoppers)

[2] IRI Marketplace, GB Convenience, Total Soft Drinks Value, 53 weeks to 22.08.21

[3] Research commissioned by Britvic, July 2021 (2,000 shoppers)

[4] Research commissioned by Britvic, July 2021 (2,000 shoppers)

[5] Lumina Intelligence Convenience Tracking Programme, 4 w/e data from w/e 22nd November 2020 to w/e 27th June 2021

[6] Research commissioned by Britvic, July 2021 (2,000 shoppers)

[7] Research commissioned by Britvic, July 2021 (2,000 shoppers)

[8] Research commissioned by Britvic, July 2021 (2,000 shoppers)

[9] Kantar Futures Consumer Macro Trends to 2025 (Britvic bespoke research) 2020

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