A soft spot for you!

As Ireland’s Covid restrictions continue, the great outdoors is likely to play a central role in all our recreational and exercise activities for quite some time to come. It’s therefore crucial to ensure you don’t disappoint those customers looking to cool down with a refreshing beverage during their jogs or walks, as well as catering to those seeking take-home options 


Brand Central

22 April 2021 | 0

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Just as warmer days and sunny weather appear, there’s no doubt that consumers will be reaching for their favourite soft-drink refreshment.

Indeed the pandemic has seen the nation up our exercise levels and regular walks have become a daily feature of life for many of us. Sport Ireland findings released last May showed that an unprecedented number of adults in Ireland are now engaging in some sort of exercise. With the Covid-19 pandemic leading to a suspension of all organised sport as well as the closure of gyms and swimming pools, people increased their activity levels with 51% of the country participating in sport while an estimated 3.1 million people are regularly walking.

Research conducted by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of Sport Ireland – which was spread over five phases beginning on 28 February 2020 – showed that 710,000 people are regularly participating in the category of exercise, 680,000 people are running and 510,000 people are cycling.

The Irish Times reported that the combined effect meant that, during the lockdown period, the levels of sedentary adults in the country has dropped to 11%, compared to 22% for the same time in 2019. Of course, convenient soft drinks are a natural companion for all these activities!

Soft drinks brands have come a long way in recent years, bringing a renewed focus on natural flavours and value for money as well as the all-important taste. In line with both consumer health trends and the sugar tax, manufacturers have maintained growth through product reformulation and highly focused marketing strategies. Juice, carbonates and energy drinks have successfully expanded their low and no sugar offerings.

Sports drinks companies have likewise focused on cutting down sugar, while sponsorship remains a core strategy. Euromonitor Ireland, in its latest report on the soft drinks sector, published in December 2020, reports that the clean and green trend will intensify into the five-year forecast period, while the “surge in alternatives will alter the landscape in coming years”.

This reflects the findings of Mintel senior food & drink analyst Richard Caines, who previously stated: “The major focus of the soft drinks market in recent years has been on sugar reduction, in response to consumer concerns about sugar and more recently in preparation for the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. Sugar is not the only health factor influencing the market though, with a decline in alcohol consumption boosting the relevance of soft drinks as an alternative to alcohol.”

Drinks with added benefits and vitamins are also appealing for the growing number of health-conscious consumers. Flavoured waters are also a popular choice for many shoppers, with the flavoured waters segment representing a €16m* value market.

Of course, soft drinks brands have been affected by the closure of foodservice outlets during the Covid-19 pandemic. With restaurants and bars remaining closed, or possibly open with limited seating outdoors as the summer progresses, it is more important than ever that retailers have an ample choice of bestselling soft drinks on offer. Make sure you’re well stocked with options bursting with on-shelf appeal, and read on to learn more about some of the must-have brands on offer alongside the marketing campaigns set to make a splash this summer.

Mystery set to intrigue shoppers

Coca-Cola HBC Ireland & Northern Ireland has announced the launch of #WhatTheFanta, bringing more mystery to the soft drinks aisle in 2021.

#WhatTheFanta is the latest innovation from Fanta, a well-loved brand worth €20.6m/£19.6m and in 1.1%* growth.

#WhatTheFanta is delivering on consumer demand for zero sugar variants and flavour innovation whilst bringing some fun and personality to the soft drinks fixture. For the first time in Ireland and Northern Ireland a new, bright blue mystery Fanta variant is rolling out in 500ml and 1.75l packs between now and early May.

The liquid inside the bottle could be one of several exciting zero sugar flavours – and the pack gives nothing away. To solve the riddle, consumers are invited to scan the QR codes on-pack to unlock a series of interactive online clues and a six-part content series ‘Flavours Unsolved’, which will develop each week, to sustain interest and intrigue. The mystery flavour will finally be revealed to eager consumers in the climactic scene of episode six of the mockumentary.

Fanta point-of-sale (POS) materials will create theatre in-store and online – challenging shoppers and brand fans to get involved with the campaign and sample the variants. The campaign will launch this March in Ireland and Northern Ireland and will run as digital, out-of-home (OOH) and on social channels.

“#WhatTheFanta is the latest Fanta campaign to spark the curiosity of consumers and encourage experimentation,” said Andrea Whyte, marketing director of Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Fanta is renowned for exciting and engaging consumers with fun new flavours and inspiring campaigns,” she added. “The latest variant #WhatTheFanta is sure to capture their attention, tapping into their experimental and playful side while satisfying their appetite for zero sugar beverages.”

Wiiings with watermelon!

Red Bull with the taste of Watermelon is a refreshing take on the classic Red Bull Energy Drink, a perfect choice for warmer days ahead.

Launched in 2020 initially as a limited-edition product for summer, Red Bull with the taste of Watermelon proved the brand’s most successful flavoured energy drink to date, earning a permanent place in the Red Bull range as the Red Edition.

Red Bull with the taste of Watermelon is available in 250ml matte red cans.

Currently, the Red Bull Energy Drink is available in over 170 countries worldwide and almost 7.9 billion cans of Red Bull were consumed last year. A 250 ml/8.4 fl oz can of Red Bull Energy Drink contains 80 mg of caffeine, about the same than in a home brewed cup of coffee. Visit RedBull.ie to learn more.

Must-stock flavoured water

Health continues to be a dominating trend across most categories, including soft drinks. It can mean different things to different people: cutting down calories, reducing alcohol intake or prioritising natural ingredients.

When considering stocking a healthy soft drink, consumers naturally turn towards flavoured water, making it a must-have in your range. In Ireland, flavoured water represents a €16m* value market. Within that, Volvic Touch of Fruit represents 80% of the flavoured still market share*.

Volvic Touch of Fruit is a refreshing blend of Volvic Natural Mineral water, with a touch of natural flavouring. The brand’s sub ranges are respectively low in sugar or have no sugar at all. To make sure consumers are not compromising on taste while enjoying their low sugar or sugar free option, Volvic Touch of Fruit offers a variety of flavours. The best sellers are Strawberry, Lemon & Lime and the newly hugely popular Mango & Passionfruit, which became the fourth best-selling SKU* within all flavours since its launch last year.

Volvic Touch of Fruit is seeing great performance, with value sales up +21%* year-on-year and a market share growth of +36%, remaining the number one flavoured water brand in Ireland*. A must-stock for summer 2021!

*(Source: Nielsen, MAT Value Sales, w/e 28 February 2021)

Unleashing a new force

Rubicon Raw is made with 20% real fruit juice, which together with caffeine from green coffee beans and B-vitamins, provides a big energy hit

Barr Soft Drinks is launching a big can energy drink from Rubicon. Rubicon Raw, an innovation built on a foundation of consumer insight, offers something the brand believes is truly new and different to today’s energy market.

“We’ve launched Rubicon Raw to meet the needs of today’s developing energy consumers,” says Adrian Troy, marketing director at Barr Soft Drinks.

“We have invested heavily to understand the energy consumer better, and what’s relevant in their lives today,” he added. “They adopted the category as young adults, but many have matured and evolved as consumers since then, and they’re calling out for something new.

“Rubicon Raw ticks all their boxes and performed exceptionally well in research. Consumers recognised that it offers something very new and different and it achieved exceptionally high purchase intention levels, with four in every five big can energy drinkers expressing a positive intent to buy*.

“The number one reason consumers like Rubicon Raw is that it’s made with 20% real fruit juice*, which together with caffeine from green coffee beans and B-vitamins, provides a big energy hit that is full of flavour.”

The Rubicon Raw range comprises three variants – Raspberry & Blueberry, Orange & Mango and Cherry & Pomegranate, with natural flavours and no artificial colours.

The launch will be supported by a consumer, social and shopper marketing campaign designed to raise awareness and encourage trial.

The levy-free 500ml range is available in plain pack (RSP €1.49) with a range of in-store POS to signpost the category.

Interested in stocking the range? Email salesoffice@agbarr.co.uk.

*(Source: JVA Consumer Research, November 2020)

Daily dose of vitamin D

Number1 Water delivers an individual’s daily dose of vitamin D

As the call for the Irish government to include Vitamin D as part of a national strategy in the fight against Covid gathers pace*, a Dublin based beverage company has launched a range of zero calorie, zero sugar, tasty waters that contain immune boosting vitamin D, along with vitamin C plus energy enhancing vitamins B5, B6 and B12.

Number1 Water with Benefits offers a cool, crisp, refreshing drink that delivers on taste, is sugar and calorie free with no artificial colours or flavours to boot.

Deirdre Lowry for the Dublin based distributor of Number1 Waters, Dalcassian Wines said: “These drinks deliver what today’s health conscious consumers want, all the taste, healthy benefits, and without the sugar or high calories. They are a delicious way to boost the immune system and increase vitamin D levels as recommended by many health professionals in the fight against Covid.”

The Number1 drinks will be available in stores across Ireland this spring.

*(Source: www.thejournal.ie/vitamin-d-covid-5362634-Feb2021)

Superior taste intensity

The Sanpellegrino Italian sparkling drinks range with its iconic red star symbol, prides itself on offering a superior taste intensity, with 16% minimum real fruit juice and no artificial sweeteners. According to the brand, a delightful blend of natural fruit tastes and sparkling water is the perfect mix to mentally transport consumers to the shade of orange groves in sunny southern Italy.

These premium sparkling drinks are made with natural ingredients and are moderately sweet with small bubbles for a uniquely refreshing taste. Presented in a vibrant 33cl can, they carry a foil eco-lid to maintain a clean drinking area on the can, so fans can fully enjoy the refreshing taste of Sanpellegrino. The range is available in six-packs, with six flavours – Sicilian Orange, Lemon, Blood Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon & Mint and Pomegranate & Orange. The Orange and Lemon are also both available in single cans.

Also available from Sanpellegrino is a 200ml glass bottle range of Organic sparkling drinks, which comes in three flavours; Orange, Lemon and Blood Orange. These tasty drinks are made with 100% organic Italian fruits and organic raw cane sugar, packaged in a premium glass bottle four-pack.

In addition to the above, the Sanpellegrino mixers range is available in a 200ml glass bottle four-pack. With a sophisticated taste, they are perfect for an early evening aperitif, and come in three flavours: Oak Wood Tonic, Citrus Tonic and Ginger Beer.



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