One in four of Ireland’s population remains teetotal. In the UK this figure is one in five.
Research undertaken by the pml Group recently found that 58% of consumers in Dublin consume a soft drink at least once a week with one in 10 drinking one every day.
But pml also found the pub down in sixth place for when the average Dubliner is likely to buy soft drinks.
‘At home relaxing’ took top spot with 47% of consumers while ‘at the cinema’ came second on 41%. ‘Eating out’ on 37% came third, ‘at a party’ came fourth on 35%, ‘with dinner’ on 29% came fifth while ‘in the pub’ only came sixth on 27%.
And that’s a shame because considering the extremely attractive margins on offer, the on-trade should be paying much more attention to its soft drinks sales, especially at this time of year when consumers walking into pubs want to order a soft drink for a variety of reasons.
At this time, many of your customers might well have zoned out of alcohol for the month that’s in it and into what’s new in the soft drinks market. The on-trade should be able to provide a new experience for them here whether it’s creative use of traditional brands in a mocktail or offering them new premium brands of soft drink.
And don’t forget the sales value of presentation. Not only should an outlet’s soft drinks range be easily visible and equally easily accessible by the bartender, but the soft drink itself should spare nothing in how it’s served up – and that means clean and appropriate glassware, ice and fresh garnish.
With this in mind, while it’s essential to have the leading cola, fruit juice and lemonade, the creative publican should now be able to offer the consumer something more than the standard soft drink fare, something that’ll reflect the dynamic evolution taking place in the spirits and beer categories.
Consumers are not unaware of the changes taking place in the beer and spirits worlds. Should a similar variety of choice be introduced into the soft drinks trade, a beneficial upsurge in purchasing of these high margin soft drink variants would be a similarly natural follow-on.
Why should soft drinks selections not follow the craft trail? To stimulate purchase, expand your selection of soft drinks – and make it show!
Irish soft drinks market
Consumption of soft drinks here is on the up. According to figures from Nielsen, the on-trade carbonated soft drinks market showed 1% growth in both volume and value, going from €192.9 million MAT September ’14 to €194.9 million MAT September ‘15. Similarly volumes showed an increase from 1.96 million litres MAT September 2014 to 1.98 million litres MAT September 2015.
This figure does not include on-trade mineral waters which rose 6% in value from €26.6 million to €28.1 million during this time. Volumes too rose by 4%, going from 335,600 litres to 349,600 litres. Premiumisation is therefore taking place in mineral waters.
In the UK, adult and premium soft drinks grew volumes by 6.4% while value grew by 10% in the year to February this year according to CGA Strategy there.
And it’s also pointed out that premium product sales rose by 137% during the same period.
However fruit juice sales in the on-trade here declined 5% in value from €12.6 million to €11.9 million accompanied by a 2% decrease in volumes from 99,400 litres to 97,400 litres.
Sports/energy drinks showed a 5% decline in both value and volume, dropping from €42.9 million to €40.9 million in value and from 363,700 litres to 344,700 litres in volume MAT to September 2015.
Millennials want new experiences and the pub-going public are, in general, more experimental. It’s up to the bars and pubs to catch up with the trends.
And in the off-trade, according to Nielsen figures, soft drinks enjoyed an increase in spend in the multiples of €410,000 in the month ending 28th December 2014 versus the month ending on 29th December 2013.
So the on-trade has its work cut out not to lose further share to the multiples. And it can do this by making a soft drink up in such a way as to be unique, a product that cannot be got in the same way via a supermarket two-litre bottle.
With six in 10 people consuming a soft drink a day, the soft drinks market is too valuable to be thought of as simply something to mix with spirits – especially at this time of year.