Paul Hill talks to Lucozade Ribena Suntory wholesale channel director Matt Gouldsmith to find out what the soft drinks giant is doing in the channel
How has LRS helped wholesalers grow sales in the past 12 months?
Category- leading NPD and extensive wholesale and field sales support are two of the ways we support the channel. Innovation helps drive sales – NPD contributed 12% (1) of total soft drinks sales in 2019. Last year, we launched Lucozade Sport Fruit Punch, Lucozade Energy Watermelon & Strawberry Cooler and Lucozade Energy Apple Blast. Combined, these have generated almost £16m of sales. We’ve started 2020 by launching Lucozade Energy Citrus Chill.
What trends and opportunities are emerging that customers can take advantage of?
For the energy segment, 59% of the UK population don’t buy from the category, but are looking for an everyday lift that carries credible wellness credentials. To meet the needs of these consumers, we’ve launched a new sub-brand, Lucozade Revive.
With strong natural credentials, Lucozade Revive is designed to combat some of the barriers perceived when it comes to buying into the energy category. Lucozade
Revive has natural fruit flavours and no artificial colours, and contains vitamins B3,
B5, B6 and B12 to help reduce tiredness.
What challenges has LRS had to overcome in the past year?
We have a track record of doing the right thing. Our brands reach in excess of 24 million consumers, so one of the most significant impacts we can have is to make our drinks healthier.
We’ve reduced sugar across our core drinks range by 50%, removing 25,000 tonnes of sugar in the process.
We’ve been bold with our decisions and introduced a zero- or low-calorie alternative for each brand. This decision was the right one for customers and consumers.
What is LRS’s greatest achievement in the past year?
Our environmental, social and corporate governance agenda is hugely important and I’m proud to work at a company with ambitious plans. Suntory’s sustainable work is anchored by four key pillars – our drinks, our resources, our society and ourselves – which all reinforce the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
We aim to become the first global drinks company to use 100% sustainable plastic bottles, using fully recycled or plant-based materials across our entire portfolio by 2030.
Are you planning any activity wholesalers should be aware of?
We’ve kicked off a project helping retailers understand how they can become more sustainable – which I hope our wholesale partners will support. As retailers look for new ways to continue to grow their businesses, it’s important for them to manage their overheads and understand how to help the planet at the same time.
We’re working alongside Energy Saving Trust and retailer Amit Patel to identify potential ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, improve sustainability and save money, as well as have a positive impact on his community.
What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales in the soft drinks category?
Focus on the core range and the biggest sellers. Alongside this, keep your range fresh by adding NPD from trusted suppliers, particularly those who back up launches with advertising as these campaigns support sales.
Finally, keep engaged with the latest market trends and react accordingly to meet customer needs.