Consumers opt for soft drink ‘staples’

Consumers opted for “staple brands” when choosing soft drinks in 2011 as they maintained their recessionary spending habits, according to the Britvic Soft Drinks Report.

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Sales from retailers grew 6.7% to £6.98bn in 2011, driven by price increases. Volume growth, however, decreased to 1%, from 3% in 2010.

Pub, club and restaurant sales declined in value by 0.6% to £2.69bn as growing concerns about the economy and job security put pressure on disposable income.

Cola continued to dominate the take-home market and attracted consumers switching from other sub categories. The category grew 7.6% to £1.5bn in value.

Value sales of market leader Coca-Cola’s brands rose 7% to £1.1bn in value. Pepsi brands marked the biggest growth in the sub sector – up 10% to £329m – and became the second biggest brand portfolio by value in the segment, up from fourth place in 2010.

Murray Harris, Britvic customer management director, says: “In a recession people gravitate towards brands they know and trust and there is a general move from still drinks to carbonates. Soft drinks is expected to still perform and deliver a good year in 2012 as it is still one of the categories that is a permissible treat.”

Elsewhere, the glucose stimulant drinks category marked double-digit growth in the take-home sector and grew in value by 17.1% £792m as consumers opted for a boost in the gloomy climes of 2011.

Cold hot drinks, such as chilled coffee, was the biggest growth category of the year – although from a small base – up 44.5% to £22m, driven by market leader Lipton Ice Tea, which this year ran a major summer sampling campaign.

The Britvic Soft Drinks report is compiled with data supplied by Nielsen and CGA.

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