Soft drinks strong in hard times

27 March, 2009

Soft drinks are holding their own in the recession with take-home value sales up 1% to £6.1 billion, according to Britvic's Soft Drinks Report 2009.

Cola doubled its value growth by 4% in the year to Dec 27, 2008, and remains the top sub-category with sales of £1.29 billion.

Pure juice held on to second place with 20% market share behind

cola's 21%, and in the third spot is glucose and stimulant drinks, which are driving the market with 12% value growth.

A second consecutive poor summer hasn't helped plain water. After failing 3% in 2007, sales dropped by a further 9% in 2008 to £417 million, the Nielsen figures show.

The tide has also turned for smoothies, with sales down 20% in value and 15% in volume. The fall was le d by sub-category leader Innocent, which saw value sales plummet by 26%. As consumers count the pennies more carefully, it's becoming harder for smoothies to command such a high price premium, according to customer management director Andrew Richards.

The top three take-home brands by value are Coca-Cola, Lucozade and Robinsons, with sales up 1%, 3% and 6% respectively. Tropicana recorded the biggest sales rise with 16% growth.

Consumers are turning towards brands "they know and trust" as economic conditions deteriorate and are showing "little desire to trade down to own-label goods or value tier brands," Richards added.

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