Me and My Brand: Jack Taylor on Boost Drinks

A pioneering brand in the energy drinks sector, Boost is still energetically growing nearly two decades later, while remaining faithful to the Independent Sector as always, says Jack Taylor, Assistant Marketing Manager at Boost Drinks

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Jack Taylor

Can you please give an overview of your brand?

In 2001, Simon Gray launched Boost Drinks when he saw an opportunity in the high-growth energy drinks market. Since then, the business has expanded its range and entered multiple segments including isotonic sports drinks, protein drinks and RTD coffee. The business has successfully focused on introducing new flavour variants as consumer tastes and demands change while retaining its status as an independent UK brand.

I’m really proud to work for a brand that is so passionate about what it stands for: creating great quality soft drinks that offer fantastic margins for wholesalers and retailers as well as superb value for consumers. Since its inception, the brand has sold exclusively through the independent sector and we continue to put independent retailers first in all that we do.

How is your brand currently performing?

Today, Boost is still the only functional drinks brand that exclusively serves the independent convenience channel. The brand has also grown to boast one of the fastest-selling soft drinks and is one of only three energy brands in growth year on year in wholesale .

2019 was another fantastic year for us and 2020 is proving to be just as successful as we look back over the first half of the year. As of 14th June 2020, Boost Energy 250ml SKU is the #4 Soft Drink in the market according to units sold and is the second fastest selling energy drink and Boost still holds first, second and fourth place for highest-selling soft drinks in Northern Ireland.

How is the energy drink market currently performing?

The energy drink market is such an important category for retailers. As part of the wider soft drinks category, made up of energy, sport and glucose, it grew by 2.7 per cent value sales in 2019  and the UK market continues to perform well and is worth £1.7 billion. When Simon set up Boost, he saw an opportunity in an expanding market so we work hard as a team to ensure that we’re continually adding value to the category whether that be through NPD, product development or innovative campaigns.

At Boost, we offer a huge portfolio of functional drinks products including Sport, Protein, Energy and now a ready-to-drink coffee SKU that allows wholesalers and retailers the best opportunity to encompass the entire market from a tried and trusted brand. Stimulation in particular is the largest sub-category and is worth about £500 million  and our Boost Energy 250ml SKU is the #4 Soft Drink in the market according to units sold and is the second-fastest-selling energy drink.

Do you have any new product development?

This year, we launched our own RTD coffee, offering a product that tastes great, is fantastic quality and comes from a brand that consumers know they can trust. We decided to enter the sector due to its ongoing growth and success. Out-of-home hot and cold coffee sales are up 54 per cent in the last year and the category is the fastest growing functional drinks category with a growth of 27 per cent. It is already worth over £110 million, and RTD coffee drinks sales are likely to continue to increase with 66 per cent of UK 18-24 year-old coffee drinkers seeing chilled coffee as a good alternative to sugary drinks. So far the product has been really well received, in June we sold seven times our forecast just for our coffee product and we are confident it will continue to be popular as we move into the second half of the year.

How are you supporting your brand & NPD?

2020 is set to be our biggest year yet, it all started with the launch of a new Red Berry SKU at the beginning of the year, a complete packaging refresh as part of a bold brand repositioning and the launch of our RTD Coffee SKUs. Although we’ve had a busy year already, we’re also really excited for the second half of the year. September will see the largest investment in a marketing campaign including a new TVC to help take the brand in an exciting direction. The TVC will be live across national TV including SKY, ITV and Channel 4 later this year. Our campaign will also include large scale out-of-home activations across cities throughout the UK including London where we’ll be adorning the side of those famous red buses.

How important are independent retailers to your brand?

Everything we do has independent retailers in mind. As a brand that retails exclusively through the independent sector, we’re committed to offering retailers the best margins, quality products and support wherever we can. The coronavirus has obviously had a massive impact on everyone’s lives and the real value of our independent retailers has shone through during lockdown. As key workers they have helped keep their communities going when they were needed most. To celebrate them we sent out care packages including POS, product and vouchers just to say thank you and help out those who have done so much to help us.

For me, it’s been a huge pleasure over the years getting to know retailers across the country who have been working so hard day in, day out. We will endeavour to keep working with as many independent retailers as we can. We’re always on the lookout for innovate ways to communicate and engage with the retailing and wholesaling community. Our H2 plans have them in mind, all of the activations are designed to help drive sales to their stores and increase consumers’ engagement with the brand.

What trends are occurring in the sector?

An important trend we expect to continue performing well is out-of-home hot and cold coffee. The market is already worth over £20.2 million and is growing at 51.9 per cent value year-on-year; and 66 per cent of UK 18-24 year-old coffee drinkers see chilled coffee as a good alternative to sugary drinks .

To cater for the growing RTD coffee market we have launched two new, chilled ready-to-drink coffee SKUs – “Silky Smooth Caffe Latte” and “Full Bodied Double Espresso with Milk” both available in £1 PMP cans. They give retailers and wholesalers access to a great-tasting product at a lower price than the market leaders, offer consumers the boost they would expect from a trusted brand and as with all of Boost’s products, retailers can trust that the products offer strong margins. We would advise retailers and wholesalers to stock up on a strong range of chilled coffee products in order to make the most of its popularity and drive incremental sales this year.

It’s important that we offer retailers and wholesalers something more than just the product that they purchase. In order to be successful as a brand in the sector you have to stand for something in order to appeal to your audience. At Boost we stand for local and I’m really proud to say that we’d do anything to help out independent retailers and ensure they’re at the forefront of all our decisions. There’s been a growing trend for brands talking about more than just their products whether that be through CSR campaigns, sustainability drives or stakeholder engagement it’s vital that a brand stands for more than just the product they produce and I can only see that continuing to be the case.

Describe your brand in three words…

That’s a tough one but I would have to say: Brave, Dynamic and Unique