Me and My Brand: Amanda Webb on new Monster flavours

Amanda Webb, Commercial Development Associate Director at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) tells Asian Trader about the new flavours and strong growth in the market-leading Monster brand of energy drinks

Amanda Webb

Can you please give an overview of your brand?

Monster is recognised worldwide, not just for its great tasting and refreshing energy drinks, but also for its unique brand identity and association with extreme sports and gaming. Monster has become the driving force in energy, and has delivered more than 50% of the sector’s £140.7m growth in the past two years[1] in GB.

Success has come from our focus on flavour innovation and range expansion,alongside continued investment in impactful marketing. Must-stocks include Monster Green, Monster Ultra White and Monster Juiced, particularly the Pipeline Punch and Mango Loco variants.

How is your brand currently performing?

Monster has led the sector through lockdown, with double-digit growth in grocery and convenience[2], driving more than 90%[3] of growth[4].

Our original Monster Green variant is going from strength to strength, and is now the third biggest soft drink SKU in symbols and independents[5].And one of the biggest drivers of growth for the Monster brand is our great-tasting Juiced range, which is worth £75m[6] and growing by 42%[7].

How is the energy market currently performing?

Energy is one of the strongest performing sectors in soft drinks, worth more than £1.21b in GB[8].The sector has continued to grow during lockdown, up 3.4%[9],supported by the increased number of consumer occasions featuring an energy drink within the home, such as home working, workouts, and computer gaming.

Do you have any new product development?

In January, we launched two exotic new variants to meet growing demand for flavour innovation in energy: Monster Pacific Punch and the zero-sugar Monster Ultra Paradise. Both cans feature tropical-inspired artwork that stands out on-shelf, in plain packs and PMPs.

Just over a year ago, we diversified with the launch of Monster Espresso – a delicious combination of real brewed coffee and our famous Monster energy blend. The range is already worth £6m[10] and includes Espresso Salted Caramel, Espresso & Milk and Vanilla Espresso.

While not under the Monster brand, we also launched Reign Total Body Fuel in 2019, which is designed to fuel performance during workouts and strength training thanks to BCAAs, and contains no sugar, calories or artificial colours and flavours. The range features four refreshing variants in warrior-themed packaging, and is worth almost £2m of sales[11].

How are you supporting your brand &NPD?

Monster has a long and successful relationship with the gaming industry. Our latest POS promotion gives gaming enthusiasts the chance to win a Monster-branded gaming simulator package worth over £2,000. This promotion is especially relevant with people spending more time in the home, tapping into a recent 193.5%[12] increase in sales of games and computer software in GB.

Despite the cancellation of many sporting events that the Monster brand supports, we’ve been busy online engaging fans with dynamic extreme sport and music content as well as special and supportive messages from Monster athletes.

How important are independent retailers to your brand?

Independent retailers have always been hugely important to us; in symbols and independents, Monster is outperforming the category in both volume and value terms – up 8.7% and 10.9% respectively[13].

CCEP has one of the largest field sales teams calling upon independent customers providing the latest advice on best sellers, new products and merchandising. Our field sales teams are now back out on the road with PPE and visiting outlets where the right social distancing practices are maintained.

What trends are occurring in the sector?

Shopper appetite for flavour innovation, and interest in new segments like RTD coffee and performance energy are continued trends. Health and wellness is another key trend. Monster Ultra taps into this and is now worth more than £70m[14], growing by 20%[15] and is the number one[16] zero sugar energy range in GB.

It’s essential to consider pack formats and merchandising, too. With more consumption now taking place at home, demand has increased for larger packs to enjoy later. During the core lockdown period, our Monster Green and Monster Ultra White take-home four-packs grew by 65.5 and 45.7 respectively[17].

We also know that understandably, saving money is an increasing focus for shoppers[18]. Unique to convenience, PMPs offer visible value, reassuring consumers that they can get the products they want, at an affordable price[19].

Our Monster Energy original and Monster Juiced ranges have a £1.39 PMP, and the Monster Ultra range has a £1.29 PMP. The Monster Green four-can multipack also comes in a PMP at £4.59.

[1] Nielsen Total coverage MAT 18/4/2020

[2] Nielsen Grocery incl discounters / total impulse MAT Value w/e 18.04.2020

[3] Nielsen Total Market Value 12 Weeks w/e/ 18th April 2020

[4] Nielsen Grocery incl discounters / total impulse MAT Value w/e 18.04.2020

[5]Nielsen – Indie and Symbols – MAT w/c 18/4/2020

[6] Nielsen MAT Total Coverage w.e. 28.03.20

[7] Nielsen MAT Total Coverage w.e. 28.03.20

[8] Nielsen Total Market Value w/e 28.03.20

[9] Nielsen Total Market Value MAT w/e 18.04.2020

[10] Nielsen Total Coverage MAT 28/03/2020

[11] Nielsen MAT Total Coverage w.e. 16.05.20

[12] IGD ShopperVista; Base: 532 shoppers, 1-14th March’20, 374 shoppers 15-21st March’20, 147 shoppers 22-28th March’20, 247 shoppers 29th Mar-4th April’20, 284 shoppers 5-11th Apr’20

[13] Nielsen, Energy, Independents and Symbols w/e 18.04.2020

[14] Nielsen MAT Total Coverage w.e. 28.03.20

[15] Nielsen MAT Total Coverage w.e. 28.03.20

[16] Nielsen MAT Total Coverage w.e. 28.03.20

[17] Nielsen Total Market Value  change 4 week w/e 18.04.2020

[18] IGD ShopperVista; Base: 532 shoppers, 1-14th March, 377 shoppers 15th-21st March, 147 shoppers 22-28th March’20, 247 shoppers 29th Mar-4th April’20, 285 shoppers 5-11’Apr’20

[19] HIM Focus on price-marked packs 2018