What soft drinks should retailers be stocking this Christmas?

Chiller space is a valuable asset and as retailers approach the final weeks before Christmas, there will be huge pressure to increase ranges across many different categories. Priyanka Jethwa investigates what soft drinks retailers should be stocking this Christmas.

Chiller space is a valuable asset and as retailers approach the final weeks before Christmas, there will be huge pressure to increase ranges across many different categories. Priyanka Jethwa challenges the big soft drink segments on why they should keep their spots

What’s the point of… stocking adult soft drinks at Christmas?

For many years now, the ‘cocktail trend’ has been slowly changing the way many consumers think about drinking at home. 

This year, it has grown further still and the arrival of the festive season will give many partygoers the excuse to be even more ambitious with their mixes. It means, therefore, that adult soft drinks are now a must-stock, suppliers say. 

CCEP expects a boost in both 
Appletiser and Schweppes sales

Amy Burgess, trade communications manager at Coca-Cola European Partners, says retailers should consider siting adult soft drinks, such as Schweppes, alongside their alcohol range: “Adult soft drinks is a growing sector that is ideal for home entertaining, and drinks like Appletiser are popular whether served on their own or as an ingredient for a cocktail or mocktail,” she says.

Meanwhile, demand for premium products has had a huge impact in the adult soft drinks category, with more focus on quality over quantity. Jen Draper, head of marketing at Global Drinks, says flavour combinations, such as Franklin & Sons’ Cloudy Apple & Yorkshire Rhubarb with Cinnamon, appeal to those looking for something different. 

“Retailers must ensure they have a full range of premium soft drinks in a selection of interesting flavours,” she says. “Placing them next to food pairings provides an opportunity for independents to upsell.”

Adult soft drinks is a growing sector that is ideal for home entertaining

What’s the point of… stocking colas and carbonates at Christmas?

The colas and carbonates category is extremely important for retailers to invest in at Christmas time, and within this, energy drinks are the biggest-selling soft drink segment for independents. 

Currently representing more than £400m-worth of sales in the channel, Lucozade Ribena Suntory says energy brands should be an essential part of any independent retailer’s chiller.

Scott Meredith, the company’s sales director, says in order to maximise sales in the run-up to Christmas, energy drinks should be brand blocked with a minimum two facings per flavour.

Stocking multipacks of cola and carbonates is also essential, Adrian Troy, marketing director at Barr Soft Drinks, says – especially to those preparing for get-togethers and parties.

 “To promote multipacks, retailers should stock up on best-selling soft drinks brands and make the most of seasonal PoS.” 

Furthermore, as research shows, sales of new flavours are growing at 16% year on year, and Simon Gray, founder and managing director at Boost Drinks, says for retailers to capitalise on this, stocking products such as the brand’s Cosmic Glow – which is Grape & Cherry flavour – will help increase basket spend. “Boost is also introducing a 250ml can as a limited-edition option that’s designed to appeal to consumers looking for new flavours in the winter months,” he adds.

What’s the point of… stocking water-plus at Christmas?

water.pngThe increasing popularity in the water-plus category, which is water with added functional benefits, can be attributed to growing public concern about being mindful about calorie and sugar intake, while still wanting some flavour. 

One of the biggest trends this Christmas in the water-plus category is quality, as younger shoppers look for upmarket products and packaging, or to brands that are less available at the multiples – in other words, craft. Amelia Parker, brand marketing manager at Clearly Drinks, says stocking craft-style drinks can be beneficial to independent retailers thanks to their higher price points and margins.

“Consumers, particularly the under-30s, are now considering flavoured water as a soft drink, and are experimenting with more adventurous flavours and styles of soft drinks,” she says. 

Meanwhile, retailers should also offer a range of sparkling varieties this season, targeted at those looking to abstain from alcohol, but who still want a fizzy option. 

Burgess, at Coca-Cola European Partners, says: “The flavoured sparkling range is available in a 600ml format. The pack design also retains the brand’s bold, simplistic look, to appeal to younger consumers. CCEP’s Glacéau Smartwater is available in four sparkling flavours: Berry & Kiwi, Lemon, Green Apple and Grapefruit & Watermelon.”

What’s the point of… stocking soft drinks for kids at Christmas?

Burgess says Capri-Sun Fruity Water is now worth £2m, demonstrating the increasing demand for water-based options for children. 

But while regular soft drinks remain popular, retailers can also capitalise by stocking a range of milk-based drinks. Milk-based drinks remain excluded from the sugar levy, and retailers can increase sales by siting them in the soft drinks chiller to offer an alternative for parents and carers looking for something different to give to children. 

Richard Duplock, marketing manager at Yazoo, says: “Within the soft drinks category, flavoured milk is a category worth £290m, growing at 4.1% year on year, making this a category that retailers cannot overlook when considering their soft drinks sales.” 

From speaking to industry leaders, if you want to cater to the widest possible demographic, retailers must ensure they have a good selection of soft drinks available for children, as well as a selection that appeals to parents. This involves soft drinks that offer a reduced sugar content, that are natural and have a high water content


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