Retailers who offer a range of sizes and tap into the sugar-free energy drinks trend will drive soft drink sales in convenience, according to brand leader Red Bull.

Research by the company suggests retailers may be missing out on vital revenue by giving more shelf space to flavours as opposed to best-selling lines in a variety of sizes.

Rich Fisher, category development manager at Red Bull UK, said: “The key to delivering sales through merchandising is rationalisation, ensuring the right range is available at all times.”

He added with many new entrants to the category, retailers should concentrate on key products in available sizes.

Red Bull Original’s three sizes, for example, appeal to three different markets, with a 250ml can selling among 18-25-year-old professionals, a 355ml can attracting older, predominantly male buyers and a 473ml can appealing to younger, less affluent customers.

“Product size is the first or second most important decision for a consumer, behind which brand to choose. Both size and diet are driving the category, so by offering different sizes and charging a premium accordingly, retailers can ensure they are maintaining value in the category,” said Mr Fisher.

Markedly, sales of sugar-free variants have increased by 3.5% from last year.

“Diet energy has driven new shoppers to the category, with an increase of more than 650,000 households compared to last year,” he said.

Duncan McCutcheon, of McCutcheon Newsagents in Tyne-on-Wear, said energy drinks are one category where he has not seen a decline in sales. “I stock the whole range, from Red Bull, to Monster, Rockstar and Emerge. My market is predominantly men, and the diet or sugar-free variants have definitely become more popular.”