Eating out sales exceeding pre-pandemic levels, Britvic report shows

Despite the cost-of-living crisis, Britvic reports that the eating out market turned over £97.3bn in 2023[1] – the first time annual sales have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, and an increase of 6% on 2022[2]

The findings from the company’s Soft Drinks Review 2024 highlight that fast food is benefitting from consumers continuing to trade down and operators expanding their estates, whereas casual dining and pubs are being squeezed more than other sectors2

It also reveals opportunities for growth for foodservice outlets through soft drinks, which are punching above their weight in foodservice – with sales growing by 4.0% to hit £3.02bn in 20231 and volumes growing by 0.8%1

Read more: Working Together Project: Britvic & Bestway

As the foodservice market bounces back, there are visible changes in both consumers’ reasons for visiting outlets and the type of places they’re visiting.  According to Britvic’s Soft Drinks Review 2024, these shifts in consumer behaviour, combined with the changing commercial climate, present significant opportunities for the sector.  Britvic says that foodservice operators can unlock new growth and stand out from the crowd by harnessing the power of soft drinks, a category which has once again demonstrated its resilience and the crucial roles it has to play in driving footfall and sales.

“Soft drinks are playing a more central role in many operators’ propositions,” explains Dino Labbate, GB commercial director for hospitality at Britvic.  “Just look at Itsu with its range of co-branded LA Brewery kombuchas.  Not to mention Indian street food operator, Mowgli, which has developed its own range of signature mocktails, lassis and low and no offerings. We’re urging more foodservice operators to follow suit and adapt their approach to selling soft drinks to stay ahead of the curve.”

Britvic’s Top Tips for foodservice operators

·       Make sure your menus stand out from the crowd:

o   Teisseire, Robinsons Cordials and the London Essence Company Range of Mixers and Crafted Sodas are perfectly positioned to help operators add value to their drinks ranges.

o   Health, indulgence and specialisation are all tools that foodservice operators are using to stand out from the crowd.  Go one step further than juices and smoothies and think health shots and indulgent hand-spun shakes.

·       Opt for food and soft drink pairings that go beyond the classic burger and Pepsi MAX® combo.  For example, London Essence Company Spiced Ginger Beer pairs perfectly with spicier Asian dishes, Tango Editions Mango Sugar Free complements and cuts through the richness of dishes such as fried chicken.

·       Workplace operators can tap into the “water plus” opportunity, (flavoured, infused and functional water products) which is worth £16.6m and growing at 19.5% year-on-year.[2]  Britvic is helping workplace caterers tap into this opportunity with the Aqua Libra Flavour Tap.  The system serves pure filtered water, either plain or infused with a choice of flavours (all containing zero calories, sugar or preservatives), at the touch of a button.

·       Invest in delivery apps – by the end of this year, orders made on delivery apps will have grown share of leading foodservice brands’ turnover by an expected 7% pts compared to 2019.[3]  But only 26.7% of orders through delivery aggregators include a soft drink,[4] suggesting operators are missing a trick to maximise order value.

Download the Britvic Foodservice Soft Drinks Review 2024

[1] IGD – UK eating out forecast 2023-2028 – P7
[2] CGA by NielsenIQ, Foodservice & Licensed Report, Workplace Catering, Water Plus segment RSV 2023
[3] Lumina Intelligence UK Food to Go Market Report 2024
[4] Lumina Intelligence, MAT data to 21.1.24, Total Soft Drinks, Delivery Lumina defined

Avatar photo
Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via and 07960935659.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.