Operators urged to target soft drink sales

Operators urged to target soft drink sales

Operators are being urged to grab the soft drinks opportunity as new innovations such as Kombucha hit the market.

The Britvic Soft Drinks Report 2017, published earlier this year, revealed that the total value of soft drinks sales to the foodservice and licensed sector was £6.9bn. It also revealed that coffee shop sales of soft drinks hit £3.9bn from 9,543 outlets during the year.

The increasing demand for health and wellness, convenience and experience, the report said, had provided great opportunities for differentiation.

“Consumers expectations for healthier, more convenient and more experiential solutions have presented an opportunity for operators to differentiate and add value,” the report said.

Artisan, the coffee shop chain founded by Edwin and Magda Harrison, recently made changes to its soft drinks offer.

Edwin Harrison said that it is important to offer customers something different to give them a reason to visit.

“We went back to our roots and brought in Bundaberg, the Australian brand, including Lemon Lime and Bitters and Ginger Beer. They are absolutely fantastic and customers are taking to them really well.”

He said that while it stocks the Fentimans range of soft drinks it has taken the decision to stock Green Cola, as an alternative which is diet but has no chemicals.

Joao Almeida, head of coffee operations at the expanding Elan café chain, argues that the coffee shop market needs to be offering consumers something extra.

“The coffee shop is a place to make an experience that the customer can’t get at home,” he said.

He added that while more soft drinks suppliers are creating new products out-of-home operators need to take this a step further.

For example, Elan produces its own cold tea mojito, which is blend of three teas – Earl Grey, Peppermint and Green tea – that is infused overnight. 

Meanwhile, Perky Blenders co-founder Adam Cozens said that its coffee shop chain, which is about to open its fourth site in Walthamstow, focuses on offering customers soft drinks from local Hackney firm Square Root and also stocks Jarr Kombucha, the health tea drink.

“We have a Kombucha and people are going mad about it. We fill the fridge and it is gone. And it is quite a high price point at over £3 a bottle,” he says.

Meanwhile, Paul Gurnell ceo of Savsé, said that the low sugar and healthier options have become more popular following the implementation of the sugar tax.

“We see the sugar tax as a hugely positive move for both the industry and the public. Tea and coffee shops need to grab it with both hands, as it presents a fantastic opportunity to increase sales of healthier drinks such as smoothies and juices,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pev Manners managing director of Belvoir Fruit Farms, said that more consumers are looking for natural drinks with a variety of flavours.

“These days, consumers expect more than standard carbonates and bottled water in coffee shops; just as there is a variety of coffees and teas on offer, they demand a choice of inspiring soft drinks.  With coffees made by trained baristas, artisanal soft drinks support the personal and handmade approach of many coffee shop operators,” he says.

“And being premium can command a higher profit margin for the operator.”

The Britvic report also revealed that the total value of soft drinks to the pub and bar sector was £22.1bn, which grew by 1.5% in the previous year. Hotels, which included full service, budget, guest houses and even holiday parks, were worth £8.6bn in soft drink sales, service led restaurants hit £20bn and fast food outlets £14bn.




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