As millions of consumers head out to festivals and carnivals this summer, retailers are advised to stock up on drinks to meet the demand.
Festivals and carnivals are a feature of British summer life. Every year thousands of people attend events such as Glastonbury, the Notting Hill Carnival or any of the many much smaller local events. Shops near festival locations can stock up on categories such as alcohol, soft drinks and snacks to cater for all those hungry and thirsty punters.
The beer and cider category is in a healthy state and is currently in very impressive growth at +6% MAT (value) in the impulse channel, according to Nielsen, with beer at +6.9% and cider at +4%2 MAT value growth.
Driving this growth are several factors, but one of the most prominent is the continued demand for premium products. Identified as the We’re Worth It driver in Heineken’s Greenpaper, the driver focuses on how bolstering the premium options in store is critical to both maximising sales and ensuring the category’s success. Over the past year, premium brands have flourished in the convenience channel, as consumers look to re-create first-class experiences at home, whether alone or entertaining friends.
An example of this is Birra Moretti. One of the fastest growing alcohol brands in the UK off trade, the brand has experienced a staggering growth of +131% in the past year (Nielsen), largely due to its food-pairing credentials as consumers’ replicate a strong food and drink offering in their home.
“As a result of this growth, a significant revenue stream has been created for retailers who have cross-merchandised food and drink to drive sales, so retailers should ensure they stock up on brands that pair perfectly with food, in the right pack size, to offer the ‘full package’ to consumers,” comments Toby Lancaster, Category and Shopper Marketing Director for Heineken UK.
Overall the cider category is in a very healthy state and currently experiencing growth at +4% MAT (value) in the Impulse channel (Nielsen).
Mainstream flavoured cider is currently in +13% growth (Nielsen). With the appetite for flavoured cider and premium apple alternatives on the rise, Strongbow is a brand that is evolving with the landscape. Strongbow Dark Fruit is the number one brand in the Mainstream Flavoured Cider category and is currently experiencing +20% growth (Nielsen).
Premium Flavoured Cider continues its monumental success and is currently in +13% growth (Nielsen). Old Mout is currently sitting at +43% growth, according to Nielsen.
The No, Low and Gluten Free Beer category is an area that has truly boomed in the last year, experiencing huge growth in the impulse channel of +58% Nielsen data reveals.
Diageo is extending the Smirnoff brand with the launch of Smirnoff Infusions, a 23% ABV spirit drink, infused with real fruit essence and natural ingredients.
Available across all channels now, the new spirit drink is made with Smirnoff No.21 Vodka, infused with real fruit essence and natural ingredients to produce two flavour variants, Smirnoff Infusions Orange, Grapefruit & Bitters and Smirnoff Infusions Raspberry, Rhubarb & Vanilla.
The new spirit drink, which has an ABV of 23%, is recommended to be mixed with soda, with the finished serve containing 87 calories based on a 50 ml serve of Smirnoff Infusions.
Hitting the shelves in time for summer, Smirnoff Infusions is ideally suited to lower tempo occasions, with its depth of flavour, refreshing garnish and unique wine glass serve likely to prove popular with consumers.
The launch will be supported with a £4.4m above the line campaign which is predicted to reach 97% of the UK population of legal purchase age, across its first year in market.
Commenting on the launch, Sarah Shimmons, Smirnoff Marketing Manager for Europe said “Smirnoff Infusions is an exciting new addition to our portfolio in Great Britain, and looks to tap into the growing demand from consumers for great tasting drinks with a real depth of flavour.
“The process sees real fruits infused and distilled individually for the perfect amount of time to allow their natural flavours to be extracted. The resulting Spirit Drink is blended with Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka and crafted at 23% ABV, to ensure the perfect balance of natural and fruity flavours at the heart of the liquid, with good spirit cut-through.”
Once thought to contain just blue, sugary liquids, the RTD category is seeing a resurgence and is now the fastest growing sector in the off trade (Nielsen). An influx of on-trend innovation has seen new brands and SKUs frequent the shelves, transforming the category into a place for experimentation and giving consumers access to a wide range of experiences which have historically been confined to the on trade.
Today the RTD category is in +8% growth in the UK off trade, according to Nielsen, and as RTD category champion, Global Brands has worked tirelessly to drive this growth. This focus has seen its portfolio go from strength to strength and add significant value (£2.6 million, Nielsen data reveals) to the category in the last 12 months.
“A great way for retailers to maximise on sales is to keep on top of current trends,” comments Christian Sarginson, Brand Controller at Global Brands. “As the warmer weather approaches, preferences often shift to more light and refreshing tastes such as Global Brands’ cult RTD Hooch Lemon Brew. “
A popular fruity choice for outdoor events, Hooch is associated strongly with summer festivals, with a presence at the likes of Beat-Herder and Forbidden Forest. To strengthen this summer appeal, Hooch will be running a BBQ campaign across social media over the warmer months, with an expected reach of 18 million. The light, refreshing and sweet citrus hit from Hooch compliments bold, heavy and meaty BBQ flavours.
The recognisable lemon flavoured brew is also joined by the tropical flavoured Hoola Hooch, giving the consumer even more choice for the perfect summer occasion and offering flexibility to the consumer all year round with their 10 pack of 275ml bottles, 70cl bottles, as well as price marked packs and cans.
“Price marked packs are vital for wholesalers as they are now a core of the independent retail landscape,” adds Sarginson. “Not only are they seen to provide value, they also help attract consumer attention and to influence the purchase. In fact, one out of five shoppers would choose a particular c-store if they knew that it stocked price marked packs.”
Global Brands’ portfolio offers a wide range of price marked products including the RTD cocktail brand Flare, price marked at £1 each in a 250ml can.
RTS cocktails are becoming increasingly popular and are growing +38% as a category (Nielsen). Flare cocktails, a top five value driving RTS brand (Nielsen), are available in three classic flavours including Cosmo, On the Beach and Mojito, offer a realistic cocktail experience at an affordable cost. Driving the RTD cocktail category by 45% (Nielsen), Flare is exclusive to independent retailers, ensuring they can offer a point of difference compared to the mult grocers.
“It is vital for stores to stock popular products to cater towards consumer demand as well as keep consumers loyal year-round,” comments Sarginson. The number one student RTD brand for five years running, VK is the best performing traditional RTD in the off-trade, growing 15% in volume as well as value. Keeping all tastes satisfied with eight flavours in the range, VK is available in a variety of formats including 70cl bottles and the VK multipack.
Multipacks and mixed packs are a popular option to stock, especially during the summer months as they offer shareability and variety for customers with friends and family. In fact, 21% of people change their format preference to multipacks from smaller single bottles during the summer time, with social events such as festivals driving the change.
“Merchandising is key when it comes to increasing sales,” adds Sarginson.
Global Brands offers a range of POS items from shelf strip to barker cards, posters and even social media support.
POS is vital to showcase new products and ongoing offers, increase brand visibility and encourage purchases. FDSUs can be used to draw the consumer’s attention fast and encourage impulse or last-minute sales; the results of this kind of merchandising helps Hooch achieve a 46% uplift in off-trade sales in summer months.
“To cash in on this growing trend for ready to serve drinks retailers should look to stock popular brands in well-presented coolers,” comments Sarginson. “Over half of all alcohol is consumed within 2 hours of purchase so keeping top sellers like VK chilled will encourage convenience buyers to grab extra drinks before they head out to the park or a BBQ on a hot summer’s day.”
“Cross-merchandising and placing seasonally appropriate products on promotion is a great way to drive sales and encourage link purchases,” adds Sarginson. “Placing products such as our popular cocktail-in-a-can brand Flare Cocktails, on FSDUs with a selection of treats and snacks encourages the consumer to buy both the cocktails and linking SKUs.”
The soft drinks category performance continues to grow in both value (+9%) and volume (+4%), IRI data reveals.
This was a result of the weather hitting temperatures not seen for 30 years and England reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup during Summer 2018.
The hot summer combined with the nation trying to drink more water as a simple and positive step to becoming healthier – water and ‘water plus’ recorded the biggest growth at +16.2m litres YoY (IRI).
Soft drinks outperformed other impulse categories, with growth of +7.7%, helped by average weekly penetration of the total convenience market continuing to rise up 10% on two years ago (IRI).
“Summer is a key time for the soft drinks category, particularly as consumers are more inclined to stay hydrated with impulse buys as it gets warmer,” comments Rachel Phillips, OOH Commercial Director at Britvic.
Britvic has a wide range of water-based drinks within our portfolio which are ideal for the occasion, including Aqua Libra, Robinsons Refresh’d, Drench, Lipton Ice Tea and bottled water brand, Ballygowan. “One of the key benefits of these refreshments is the low-calorie content without the compromise on taste; this is particularly significant as health becomes an increasing concern for shoppers,” says Phillips. “It’s important for retailers to stock these products, particularly in chillers so they are cold and ready to enjoy, in order to increase both sales and footfall during the summer months.”
“To capitalise on impulse sales, ensure your food-to-go display is well stocked for those looking to enjoy their lunch outside and on the go. Include sandwiches, wraps, sweet and savoury snacks, in addition to a variety of soft drinks,” adds Phillips. “Stock smaller bottles and cans of Pepsi MAX, 7UP Free or Tango – these are available in price-marked packs to help shoppers feel they are getting great value for money from their local store.”