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In partnership with Coca-Cola European Partners

When restrictions were brought in to minimise the spread of coronavirus, life in the UK changed dramatically overnight.

Eight weeks later, and some of the behaviours that seemed strange at first have become routine.

While we all hope things go back to normal as soon and as safely as possible, we can be pretty certain of some long-term changes in consumer behaviour, which suppliers and retailers must adapt to.

A preference for shopping local

The ‘big shop’ made a comeback in early March, in line with government guidance that states consumers should limit their shopping trips.

But now that many have filled their cupboards with essentials, top up missions are returning, with the importance of a handy location being the top store choice driver.

Nearly half of Brits have been shopping at local, independent stores more regularly than they did before the coronavirus outbreak, partly to avoid crowds and queues at the supermarket, and also because they’re keen to support local businesses. And average spend per visit is up.

More people eating and drinking in the home

With more people consuming food and drink in the home, there has been an increase in demand for bigger packs, such as large plastic bottles and multipack cans of soft drinks. This trend has prevailed throughout the lockdown period, with a shift to people buying more products to drink later.

Larger packs deliver volume and value for money that shoppers are looking for, and are ideally-suited for the estimated rise of up to 38% in at-home consumption occasions each week.

It’s important to remember that as lockdown measures begin to ease in the coming weeks, retailers should begin up weighting their on-the-go soft drink formats (500ml bottles and 330ml cans) again, as more shoppers look for refreshment while out and about.

Appetite for treats with an eye out for value

With many stuck at home and some with relatively little to do, people are looking for special moments to enjoy – whether with people in their household, or virtually with other family and friends.

This has seen nearly half saying they have snacked more than usual in the past few weeks, and has led to an increase in sales of everyday treats like crisps, chocolate, biscuits and carbonated drinks.

At the same time, research shows shoppers are planning to focus more on saving money in the next 12 months, which is understandable considering 75% of households report that their income has reduced since the coronavirus outbreak started.

Opportunity for retailers

The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the critical role convenience retailers play in communities, as people increasingly rely on local stores for both essentials and treat purchases.

Combined with consumers’ demand value for money, larger pack formats and for small uplifting treats like snacks and soft drinks presents a real opportunity for retailers when it comes to price-marked packs (PMPs).

PMPs offer visible value, reassuring shoppers that they can get the products they want, without being overcharged. In fact, price mark packs account for over 60% of total soft drink sales in independent and symbol convenience stores.

New PMPs from CCEP

This month, we’re reducing the recommended price points for our range of PMPs across our much-loved colas portfolio – which includes the number one soft drink in GB – to help retailers respond to demand for larger pack formats.

1.75l bottles of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar – including the popular cherry and vanilla-flavoured variants – and Diet Coke are now available in a £1.75 PMP, and 1.5l bottles of Coca-Cola Original Taste and Coca-Cola Original Taste Cherry are now available in a £1.95 PMP.

Our 2l bottles of Fanta and Dr Pepper are also available in a £1.89 PMP, with our 2l Sprite PMP available at £1.69.

And with ‘little and often’ and impulse shopping trips likely to become more common again when lockdown restrictions are eased, we’ve made our on-the-go 500ml bottle PMPs more appealing, too – to catch shoppers’ eyes at the front of the store.

500ml bottles of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar – again, including cherry and vanilla flavours – now come in a £1 PMP, as do Diet Coke Sublime Lime and Diet Coke Twisted Strawberry.

Our 500ml bottles of Fanta and Dr Pepper also come in a £1.15 or two for £2.20 PMP, with the Sprite 500ml PMP available at £1.

As always, the recommended prices on our PMPs are intended only as a guide for retailers and they are free to set prices as they wish. Plain packs are also available.

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