5 things we learned… from the Britvic Soft Drinks Review

Sales of soft drinks remain steady, but what should retailers and foodservice operators be focusing their attention on to maintain these essential sales?


In retail, soft drinks delivered the greatest absolute value growth of any category in 2022, which is now worth a staggering £2.8bn to the convenience channel. The report also unearthed huge growth potential for the sector, equating to £8,400 for each of the nearly 48,000 convenience stores operating in the UK today. In foodservice, soft drinks hit a value of more than £2.9bn last year, up +66.1% on 2020 levels.


Energy drinks were the star retail performer in 2022, responsible for a huge £96.9m (28%) of the category’s £347.4m growth in convenience. This was followed by cola and plain water, which added just over £70m each and, due to the heatwave in 2022, sales of plain water surged by +39.4% to £250.3m.

Interesting flavour profiles and new products were also in demand. Pepsi MAX’s® trio of flavoured colas grew by £6.3m (+16.9%) in 2022, delivering more growth for convenience retailers than all other flavoured colas combined.

(Sources: IRI Convenience Channel, Total Soft Drinks Britvic Defined, Absolute Value Growth, 52 w/e 01.01.23 vs YA. IRI Convenience Britvic Defined Soft Drinks Value 52 wks to 01.01.23 vs YA. IRI Convenience Total Cola Britvic Defined, Value MAT 01.01.23 vs YA)


On-the-go missions rose from 13% of visits in 2021 to 14.9% in 2022. Soft drinks’ share of these also rose significantly, featuring in 48% of all on-the-go occasions, making them the number-oneon-the-go item bought in c-stores.The resurgence of on-the-go trade is changing dynamics in packaging formats, with single-serve sales outperforming take-home across all channels. But, with 52% of consumers saying that tighter budgets are making the convenience channel less attractive, where they’re shopping and what they’re drinking is changing.

(Sources: Lumina Intelligence Convenience Tracking Programme, 52 w/e 09.01.22 and 52 w/e 08.01.23. Kantar WPO OOH Panel, Convenience, Soft Drinks Singles, MAT 02.01.23 vs YA. Lumina Intelligence Convenience Tracking Programme, 52 w/e 08.01.23)


Offering greater choice, paying close attention to how drinks are served and encouraging people to trade up can pay dividends for foodservice operatives. Britvic calculates that encouraging 10% of diners to trade up from tap water to a soft drink could deliver an extra £170m.

“Pairing food with drinks in promotions can help operators enhance customer perceptions of value and increase average spend by encouraging diners to buy a greater number of items per visit, while helping customers feel they are getting value for money,” said Dino Labbate, GB Commercial Director for Hospitality.


Britvic has identified five key drivers for retailers to bear in mind as they tap into the opportunity on-the-go formats present:

Recruiting Generation Z
+£72m or £1,504/store

Winning with food
+£80m or £1,672/store

Maximising health
+£52m or £1,086/store

Simplifying shopping experiences
+£96m or £2,006/store

Evolving energy
+£100m or £2,089/store

(Source: Britvic IC Category Vision January 2023. Impulse size of prize based on NielsenIQ RMS, MAT 2022, Impulse share of soft drinks (40%) multiplied by market opportunity. Impulse size of prize per store calculated by dividing by Lumina 2022 estimated number of impulse outlets 47,861)

Britvic Foodservice retail Soft Drinks soft drinks review