Soft drinks delivering highest convenience category growth and presenting opportunity to foodservice, report shows

The foodservice soft drinks market is in volume decline on pre-pandemic levels, with value up just 4.0% on 2019 and 38% of consumers saying they are eating out less frequently due to finances. However on the convenience side, soft drinks has delivered more growth to convenience retailers than any other food and drink category in 2022, shifting an extra 67.9m litres and 133.7 m extra units[2]

However, Britvic has calculated that foodservice operators could deliver a sales boost of up to £170m by encouraging 10% consumers to trade up from tap water to a soft drinks.

Part of the Britvic Soft Drinks Review, the company’s findings show that soft drinks sales in foodservice hit a value of more than £2.9bn last year, up 66.1% on 2020 levels, with report also highlighting that the food to go market is set to reach a value of £22.2bn in 2023.

Dino Labbate, GB commercial director for hospitality at Britvic, comments: “What we can see from last year, is that the foodservice market is polarising between value and convenience-led missions on the one hand, and less frequent but more indulgent, premium occasion-led missions on the other.[1] This represents a real opportunity for foodservice outlets that can adapt their offer to serve both audiences.

Read more: Working Together Project: Britvic & Bestway

“Our annual Soft Drinks Review reveals that soft drinks are continuing to perform well, driven by strong performances from still juice drinks, pure fruit juices and flavoured carbonates.[2] As a resilient category, we’re confident that soft drinks can offer opportunity to operators in these challenging times – everyone from fast food and coffee shop operators, to contract caterers and workplace venues. But they will need to rethink their soft drinks offering in order to make a difference.”

Sales of soft drinks surged by 14.1% in conveneince, putting an extra £347.4m through retailers’ tills[3]- more than the combined growth of beer, wine, spirits, confectionery, crisps, snacks and nuts[4]

Ben Parker, GB Retail commercial director at Britvic, comments, “Soft drinks featured in nearly one in four (22.9%) c-store shopping baskets last year,[14] whereas all other impulse categories suffered purchase declines.[15] The opportunity soft drinks is creating, when the right range is on offer, is hard to ignore and it’s important for retailers to make the most of the category, particularly during challenging times. Energy drinks and cola are flying high, and we’ve also seen that adding interesting, limited-edition flavours into the mix can pay big dividends in driving impulse sales when it comes to on-the-go formats.

“Our limited-edition Tango Berry Peachy Sugar Free, for example, was the number one launch of 2022[16] and helped to drive an incredible +49.3% growth for the Tango Sugar Free range.[17] That’s more than twice the rate of growth achieved by the brand’s closest competitor [18], and we’re looking to repeat that success this year with the launch of Tango Paradise Punch Sugar Free as the next flavour in our rotational series. These types of interesting flavour profiles pique shoppers’ interest which is so important in driving basket spend in the convenience channel.”

[1] Lumina-Intelligence-UK-Eating-Out-Market-Report-2022 P4
[2] CGA On Premise Measurement Data FS&L MAT data to 31/12/2022

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


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