Britvic report: soft drinks firms ‘ahead of game’ on sugar

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The soft drinks levy has brought innovation
The soft drinks levy has brought innovation
The soft drinks sugar tax has sparked “numerous high-profile” product reformulations, innovations and health-led activations, according to the 2018 Britvic Soft Drinks Review.

Writing in the report Britvic GB managing director Paul Graham said that the soft drinks industry had demonstrated its ability to evolve.

“It feels to me like the industry has got ahead of the game and last year we saw a huge amount of innovation and reformulation across the board, probably more so than was expected,” ​he said.

Health

“Health remains front of mind for consumers when choosing a soft drink and I am proud that our industry is playing its part in removing millions of  calories from people’s diets and offering them great tasting, healthier soft drinks solutions.”

According to the report, total soft drinks value sales through retail and foodservice were continuing to grow, hitting £15.2bn in 2017 up 1.4% on 2016.

Mixer drinks contributed the most value growth, up by £88m, while carbonates remained the largest segment at £6.9bn.

The report revealed that health continued to be one of the defining trends for soft drinks in 2017. Low and no sugar variants grew in carbonates categories, while water and water plus, continued to experience strong growth as consumers searched for healthier hydration solutions.

The result of these reformulations meant the industry’s predicted exposure to the levy fell by over £200m, it said.

Premiumisation

However, health was not the only issue on the agenda for the soft drinks market as there was the continuation of key trends such as premiumisation and convenience, Graham said.

Quoting statistics from Nielsen the report revealed that premium new product development accounted for 43% of all launches, up from 30% in 2016.

He also highlighted the emergence of “some newer talking points”​ affecting the category like zero proof alcohol and the growing focus on sustainability.

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