Vimto is on a mission to reframe the squash category, praising both its tasty flavour and its health credentials.
Demonstrating its commitment to health, the brand recently strengthened its core squash range with Vitamins C and D.
The overall squash category has grown over the last 18 months as consumers have looked for healthier ways to keep hydrated.
Becky Unwin, Vimto Senior Brand Manager, tells Wholesale Manager what flavours are on-trend in the squash category and gives some advice for wholesalers on how to capitalise on the squash opportunity.
What are they key products in the Vimto squash range that wholesalers should be stocking?
As the number 2 squash brand in the UK, and the fastest growing1, wholesalers can capitalise on this popularity by stocking a wide range of our Vimto squash portfolio. Our ambition is to reframe the squash category, celebrating both flavour and functional health benefits. Not only do we always deliver on flavour, but we recently fortified our squash range with Vitamins C&D2, ensuring that we’re meeting consumer needs and providing additional reasons to shop the category. Classic and recognised flavours are always a priority, but by leveraging well-known brands like Vimto, wholesalers can encourage retailers to stock other variants that will in turn inspire consumers to explore new flavour experiences. We offer a range of squash flavours, such as Orange, Strawberry and Lime and Raspberry, Orange and Passionfruit, and our brand-new flavour Blackberry, Raspberry and Blueberry.
How has Vimto’s squash range been performing since it was relaunched to be fortified with vitamins C & D?
We have experienced a fantastic response to the relaunch of our core range, with an increase of +1.2% in value year to date, outperforming the Squash category by over 8% points1. We know that healthy hydration is really important for consumers, so we wanted to ensure that we are offering products that speak to this demand, this is really key for us.
How has the overall squash category been performing in recent years?
We have seen considerable overall growth in the squash category, particularly over the past year and a half as consumers consume more tap water and seek healthier ways to hydrate. This has resulted in total squash sector sales increasing by +1%3, versus record high sales of last year. The squash sector is one of the top growth areas within soft drinks, adding +£61million to the category in 20204.
What flavours are on-trend in the squash category?
As we move through the warmer months, consumers tend to prioritise flavours that are synonymous with summer and on trend, such as fruits like strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. In Autumn, as the weather begins to cool, we will be relaunching our annual limited edition Winter Warmer squash. This is our Vimto squash recipe infused with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, served hot, it’s perfect over the festive season.
Did Covid and the resulting lockdowns benefit the squash category as there was more in-home consumption?
Of course, the out-of-home and on-the-go moment was largely replaced by consumption moments at home. Combined with the increased focus from consumers looking for healthier ways to hydrate and also the increase in tap water consumption, the squash category was perfectly placed to cater to this need. Whilst this trend caused purchasing habits to change quickly, we do anticipate a continuation of this behaviour as we emerge from lockdown and head towards the ‘new normal’.
Do you think the squash category has missed an opportunity by not promoting its flavour and functional health benefits?
Earlier this year we launched a brand-new redesign across our entire Vimto portfolio. Not only delivering a cleaner and more modern look that represents Vimto’s unique and refreshingly different brand personality, but a design that stands out on shelf and enables us to highlight more of our product benefits – such as real fruit ingredients and added vitamins – all helping consumers to navigate the options available and make Vimto the obvious choice. We look forward to seeing how retailers and wholesalers alike are able to tap into this opportunity. We place a huge amount of importance on ensuring that any new Vimto variant serves to fill a gap in the market, whether that be from a category, flavour or benefits perspective, and we believe our new squash range does exactly that.
What marketing activity do you have to support the Vimto squash range?
We recently launched our biggest marketing campaign to date. The multi-touchpoint ‘Find Your Different’ campaign, which launched on 2nd May, was rolled out across various platforms including TV, video-on-demand, digital, proximity media, mobile and shopper marketing in store and online. As part of the campaign, there was also product-specific media, targeting parents buying squash for their families, communicating the new fortified squash vitamin credentials. An evolution of the award winning ‘I See Vimto In You’ campaign, ‘Find Your Different’ continues to showcase the Vimto spirit, dramatising the essence of Vimto, highlighting the notion that life is a journey and a celebration of what you love.
What advice do you have for wholesalers to help them capitalise on the squash opportunity?
In order to capitalise on the squash opportunity, wholesalers need to make sure they’re stocking a wide range of squash flavour variants, as well as No Added Sugar options. Consumers are also drawn to brands they know and trust, and brands such as Vimto are well-loved, with a flavour profile that is instantly recognisable. Wholesalers can capitalise on this by ensuring retailers have access to popular brands that consumers know and love.
How do you work with wholesalers to help them grow sales?
We place a huge amount of importance on category management support for our customers, and through a close consideration of performance metrics, we are able to provide support and advice for wholesalers. Our award-winning category management approach5 is something that we are extremely proud of at Nichols PLC. It is vital that wholesalers are making informed decisions when it comes to merchandising their soft drinks range. We consistently share impartial insight on category performance to help wholesalers develop bespoke ranges that will drive incremental value. We also strongly recommend that wholesalers review their planograms on a seasonal basis as a minimum, to maximise sales opportunities. Ensuring the merchandising strategy and plan is optimised can make all of the difference between increasing or losing sales.