Convenience retailers could unlock an extra £8,643 over the next five years by tapping into soft drinks trends highlighted by Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I’s (SBF) latest research.

The research uncovered a £1bn total soft drinks opportunity across all retailers. Convenience, symbol and unaffiliated independent stores could take £417m of this opportunity.

“The trends we’ve seen develop during the Covid-19 crisis, such as increased in-home consumption, are set to continue. We also know that in recessionary times, people buy smaller packs more frequently.

“It is crucial that retailers understand these trends and make room for products that cater for these changing habits to continue to see category growth,” says Alpesh Mistry, sales director at SBF GB&I. 

“The soft drinks category needs to cater for these changes. We know 25% of shoppers are consuming more soft drinks and that £143m has been added to the category through increased multipack sales during lockdown.”

Here are the four things that soft drinks shoppers are looking for, which you can use to drive sales:

Enjoyable refreshment – worth £2,529 extra per store over the next five years

Retailers that can encourage shoppers to buy drinks with or without food by introducing ‘meal for tonight’ options and flagging cross-category links can unlock an extra £340m of growth. With 20% of all soft drinks purchased for refreshment and hydration, this need is key to increasing sales.

Advice: Use PoS around your store to reming shoppers to visit the chiller

Uplift & energise – worth £1,815 extra per store over the next five years

By adding more ‘better for you’ energy options and promoting sugar-free and natural drinks, retailers can increase category sales by £244m. These choices are aimed at the 54% of people who exercise to improve their health and the 75% of people who are concerned about their levels of tiredness and stress.

Advice: Ensure high visibility of ‘better for you’ lines

Special moments – worth £2,551 extra per store over the next five years

The biggest opportunity for retailers is to encourage shoppers to choose a soft drink as a treat. Retailers can help unlock £343m in growth by catering for soft drinks to accompany evening meals or offering premium drinks that offer indulgence.

Advice: With 33% of 18-24-year-olds describing themselves as non-drinkers, retailers should ensure they are offering premium soft drink options.

Positive choicesworth £1,748 extra per store over the next five years

Retailers can access an extra £235m in sales by navigating shoppers to more balanced and natural drink choices that have a positive force on society. Following a 43% rise in sales of ‘ethical’ food and drink between 2013 and 2018, retailers that offer brands with a positive story can grow sales.

Advice: Stock brands that have an authentic brand story and make a positive difference.

Read our exclusive industry with SBF’s Alpesh Mistry here