Soft serve

As shoppers stock up on soft drinks in spades ahead of the busy Christmas season, it’s crucial that retailers ensure their shelves are packed with a broad range of options to satisfy every family member’s taste preference. With that in mind, let’s take taking a closer look at some of the hottest products in the category, writes Julia O’Reilly


Brand Central

18 November 2022

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Alcoholic beverages may take centre stage during the festive season, but Irish consumers certainly couldn’t go without their soft drinks at this time of year. Having a supply of soft drinks is vital, both for impromptu guests, and to keep the family going throughout the long relaxing period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Plus, demand for premium mixers has also grown among those who are keen to enjoy a sophisticated beverage without the accompanying hangover.

Research from Kantar published in January 2022 found that the standout category performer in terms of value growth last Christmas was confectionery, which includes soft drinks and represented 47% of incremental sales.

Heightened health and wellness consciousness has significantly impacted consumption of soft drinks in Ireland. According to Bord Bia’s Global Beverages Study, 71% of global respondents claim that when choosing a non-alcoholic beverage, they go for the healthier option. That’s why many brands today are making real efforts to reduce sugar content in their beverages.

Energy drinks, meanwhile, continued to grow in popularity in 2021. Research from Euromonitor found that it was through innovation that brands experienced increasing demand, as new consumers entered the category searching for a boost throughout the day to sustain cognitive or physical activity.

As is the case across the entire grocery industry, sustainability is now a major focus among consumers. Indeed, Bord Bia research found that six in 10 consumers across Ireland and the US are concerned by the impact of their beverage choice on the environment.

Manufacturers are therefore striving to meet consumers’ concerns by making their packaging more environmentally, as demonstrated by the brands highlighted in this month’s feature, and there is widespread acknowledgment that the industry has been doing a good job in improving the sustainability of the beverages they produce, with 71% of consumers believing that to be the case. What’s more, Ireland recycles 70% of its plastic bottles, data from Repak published in 2020 found, making us one of the best performers in Europe.

With shoppers stocking up on soft drinks in the build-up to the busy Christmas season, it’s crucial to ensure you have options in-store that will satisfy every family member’s unique tastes.

Share magic moments

When busy schedules make it hard to connect, mealtimes are the perfect opportunity to bring families together. Coca-Cola is inviting consumers to share more magical moments over a meal with the ones they love the most.

For Christmas 2022, Coca-Cola will continue its ‘Real Magic’ communication platform to help bring people together. Coca-Cola is offering consumers the chance to win prizes to bring real magic to mealtimes. Through an exciting on-pack pin code promotion, consumers will have chances to win €200 to spend on their Christmas preparations, plus 1000s of great prizes from Just Eat, Deliveroo & Spotify.

This fully supported campaign will be live in trade from 7 November through to the end of December 2022 and come to life through multiple touchpoints which include TV, Video on Demand, cinema, radio, out of home, experiential, PR, instore theatre, and POS support.

The brand advises stocking up on the festive promotional packs to offer your customers a chance to win.

Full-blown flavour

Monster’s success is set to continue next year with the launch of three new flavours in early 2023

Entering the Irish market just over 10 years ago, Monster, Ireland’s number one stimulant energy brand, consistently contributes to the energy category in both value and volume growth, delivering more than 18% year-to-date (YTD) September data*.

The brand’s success continues to be driven by strong volume sales of the flagship original Monster with significant additional commercial performance gained from new product innovation, in particular its zero sugar ‘Ultra’ range and its full flavour ‘Juiced’ range: responding to new consumer needs.

Within the growing ‘Zero Sugar’ segment, Monster Ultra has maintained its number one position this year*. The expanding Ultra range now includes Ultra White, Paradise, Red, Blue, Violet, Fiesta Mango, and the new Ultra Watermelon and Gold which launched earlier this year.

Within the ‘Full Flavour’ segment, Monster Juiced has seen further accelerated results. The Juiced range also continue to expand, now including Mango Loco, Pipeline Punch, Pacific Punch, Mixxd Punch, Monarch and this year’s new fan favourite, Monster Khaotic, our energy blend with a tropical orange flavour.

Monster also continues to expand its ‘take-home’ offering with the introduction of eight-packs to the Irish market.

The brand’s success is set to continue next year with three new flavours ready to launch to the Irish market in early 2023; with a reformulated Monster ‘Lewis Hamilton’, Monster Juiced ‘Aussie Lemonade’ and Monster ‘Ultra Rosa’.

*(Source: Nielsen ROI YTD September 2022: Stimulant Energy = Energy drinks with 15g or more caffeine per litre)

Thirsty work

Ballygowan will provide the IRFU with 40,000 litres of water each year to ensure players have the optimal water intake during training and matches

Ballygowan has been announced as the Official Water Partner of Irish Rugby in a new four-year deal. The partnership sees Ballygowan become one of the official partners of the IRFU, which includes: the Irish Senior Team; Irish Senior Women’s Team; Senior Men’s Sevens and Senior Women’s Sevens as well as becoming an official sponsor of the IRFU National Referee panel.

Irish Senior Men’s players Mack Hansen, Gavin Coombes, and Jack Conan took a break from training to help launch the new partnership in Dunboyne Castle ahead of the Bank of Ireland Nations Series kicking off in November. They were also joined by Senior Women’s Squad members Aoife Doyle, Enya Breen, and Dorothy Wall. Kevin Donnelly, managing director, Britvic Ireland and Jessica Long, Head of Commercial, IRFU were also in attendance.

Under the new agreement, Ballygowan, which is part of Britvic Ireland, will provide the IRFU with 40,000 litres of water each year to ensure players have the optimal water intake to maintain a normal water balance during training and matches. The average rugby player covers approximately 7km during a match, and it is not unusual for a particularly active player to lose up to a kilo in weight through dehydration.

Ballygowan will support the new partnership with an integrated through the line campaign, entitled ‘Bottled Wild for Irish Rugby’, which will include a dedicated TVC, OOH, digital and social media support, PR, as well as in-store POS rolled out across key retail outlets nationwide.

Ballygowan Natural Irish Mineral Water is suitable for everyone, no matter what their activity level is; from leading professional rugby players to a group of friends playing tag rugby or to refresh after a brisk walk or run.

Last year, Ballygowan relaunched the brand with the new ‘Bottled Wild’ campaign. The campaign was a major step forward in the brand’s ambition to be the most sustainable water brand in Ireland, with all bottles now made from 100% recycled plastic, and are 100% recyclable but containing the same refreshing water, bottled wild from source at Newcastle West in Limerick, remains unchanged.

By introducing the new bottles, Ballygowan is helping to remove 51 million virgin PET bottles which is 1,288 tonnes of non-recycled plastic. When recycled correctly, Ballygowan rPET bottles can be reused over and over again, becoming a contributor to the circular economy, and resulting in a positive impact on the planet.

“Irish Rugby is delighted to welcome Ballygowan as the Official Water Partner of the IRFU,” said Jessica Long, head of commercial, IRFU. “Keeping players’ fluids in balance is an integral part of achieving peak performance and we are delighted to be working with a home-grown Irish brand with a proven track-record in the Irish market.  We are looking forward to further developing our relationship with Britvic and I have no doubt our athletes and fans will welcome the support this partnership provides.”

Get up and go!

Lucozade Energy is known to help get consumers energised and re-vitalised as they make their way through the festive period

Lucozade Energy, Ireland’s number one energy brand*, will back on TV across November in the lead up to Christmas and is also planning a significant out-of-home (OOH) and social campaign to be executed in December.

Lucozade Energy is known to help get consumers energised and re-vitalised as they make their way through the festive period.

Research shows that Lucozade Energy is Ireland’s number three FMCG brand***. This is a testament its continued Investment in high impact and high reach mass media and consistent in-store activation.

*(Source: NielsenIQ, Total Scantrack ROI, Lucozade Drink Now Energy, Value Sales, YTD to 11/10/22)

**(Source: NielsenIQ, Total Scantrack ROI, Energy One Shot by Brand, Value Sales & Value % Share, L4WK to 11/10/22)

***(Source: Nielsen Top 100 Brands 2022)

Sunshine in every drop

Irish brand MiWadi has grown from strength to strength in the marketplace. From humble beginnings in 1927, MiWadi has been a fruity and flavoursome part of childhood in Ireland for 94 years and has always remained relevant to Irish families with a wide range of flavours in our Regular, No Added Sugar, 0% Sugar and Drops ranges. To this day, MiWadi is produced in Dublin and is a proud member of Love Irish Food.

MiWadi continues to grow year on year maintaining its number one position in the squash category*.

This summer, MiWadi announce that its single concentrate and double concentrate ranges are now fortified with Vitamin D which supports your family’s immune system**. Vitamin D contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and maintenance of normal bones and teeth.

Vitamin D is very important in our diet to help support your family’s general health, growth, and development but it can be difficult to achieve the recommended daily intake of 5 µg. It has been reported that Vitamin D deficiency is very prevalent in Ireland***.

MiWadi makes the water that you need to drink each day extra delicious and refreshing. To enjoy MiWadi at its best, just add water.

*(Source: Nielsen Value Share MAT Total Squash Category Sept 2022.

**(Source: Excludes MiWadi Regular Blackcurrant 1L)

***(Source: Department of Health Article Reporting on Vitamin D Deficiency in Ireland, April 2020)

All-natural sugar-free treat

Nexba is Australia’s number one all-natural sugar-free drinks brand

Earlier this year, leading Australian soft drinks brand, Nexba, appointed SHS Sales and Marketing Ireland to look after the sales and distribution of its Kombucha portfolio in Ireland.

SHS Ireland launched Australia’s number one all-natural sugar-free drinks brand, Nexba, providing healthy alternatives to sugary soft drinks.

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage which contains healthy components such as B vitamins, organic acids, live cultures and antioxidants. Nexba’s new range of Kombucha proves that gut health and great taste can go hand in hand and aligns with the company’s ongoing health agenda.

Available in three flavours – Strawberry & Peach, Mango and Mixed Berry – the soft drink is full of live culture probiotics and is made using the globally patented ‘Nexba Natural Sweetener Blend’, which allows each drink to be completely sugar-free and contains nothing artificial, yet retains its bold, and fruity flavours.

Nexba’s Kombucha range contains zero alcohol and is without the strong vinegar taste commonly found in other Kombucha products on the market, setting this to be a consumer favourite. The range is part of the company’s ongoing agenda to tackle diabetes and obesity and improve gut health in Ireland. So far Nexba has taken over 5 billion grams of sugar out of global diets.

Matthew Connole, sales lead EU, Nexba Beverage Co. said the appointment would provide a strategic platform to launch the new range.

“The launch marks an exciting and important milestone as the company grows its international brand presence,” Connole said. “We will be working closely with SHS Sales and Marketing to maximise current opportunities and identify areas for growth, boosting Ireland’s naturally sugar-free soft drinks category as we seek to realise the full potential of the Kombucha portfolio.

“The release of a range of revolutionary Kombucha drinks to the UK and Ireland cements the brand’s position as thought leaders and innovators in the naturally sugar-free soft drinks industry.”

Alan Neill, commercial director, SHS Sales and Marketing added: “The naturally sugar-free soft drinks category is one of Ireland’s most dynamic FMCG markets. The desire to stay healthy during the pandemic has accelerated the demand for such products, as health and wellbeing become a priority for consumers.

“This product is unique. It presents a very different offering from other products currently available within the category and we are delighted to be working with Nexba Beverage Co. to ensure a successful brand launch in Ireland. The focus will be on building brand awareness which in turn will generate category growth.”

Nexba is stocked in SuperValu, Centra, Spar and independents in 330ml cans and 1L Pet bottle formats.

For further information contact SHS Sales and Marketing, by telephone on 01 401 6200 or email

Energy boost

Red Bull established the energy drinks product category

Promising to vitalise body and mind, Red Bull Energy Drink, alongside its expanding range of editions will make for the ultimate Christmas 2022 party companion.

Red Bull Sugar Free and Red Bull Zero serve the no sugar category trend, while the colourful editions including Tropical, Red (Watermelon), Green (Cactus Fruit) and Apricot provide something for every taste. Red Bull Energy Drink is now also available in the super convenient four pack, perfect for Christmas get togethers.

Available in over 170 countries worldwide, with more than 7.8 billion cans of Red Bull consumed last year, its expanding range of editions and beyond the ordinary marketing strategy see Red Bull continue to wing its way into Irish consumers hearts, minds, and shopping baskets this Christmas.

Founded in 1987, Red Bull established the energy drinks product category, promising to vitalise body and mind. It is appreciated worldwide by top athletes, students and in highly demanding professions, as well as during long drives.

Red Bull is official energy drinks partner to Connacht Rugby and the Irish Women’s Hockey Team, also supporting Irish athletes, hockey goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran, surfer Conor Maguire, downhill mountain bike athlete Greg Callaghan and drifter Conor Shanahan.

Visit for more inspiring content and follow @RedBullIre on Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date with the latest action and events.

At nature’s pace

Ishka Irish Spring Water, the Limerick-based bottled spring water company, is constantly looking for new ways to innovate and stay one step ahead of a rapidly changing retail environment.

Ishka is committed to protecting the environment around it, the home of its natural-source water, and ensuring that everything it does is help to build a sustainable future. Ishka Spring Water filters naturally through the Ballyneety landscape at a pace that only nature can set.

As well as its water, the brand also put just as much care and consideration into the packaging of it and the ways in which consumers can purchase and enjoy it. All plastic bottles are 100% recyclable and its EcoBottles is made from 100% recycled plastic. Ishka also has been a pioneer in introducing tamper-proof tethered caps, three years ahead of an EU deadline, becoming the first bottled water company in Ireland to implement such a measure. It is one of several ways in which it argues that a strong business model can co-exist with environmental responsibility.

Now a strong, recognisable brand on the retail landscape, family-run Ishka continues to increase its market share, largely because it can lay claim to being Ireland’s freshest spring water – bottled from five, 200m-deep certified wells, untouched by human contact and not stored prior to bottling. Last year it saw growth of 32% year on year. And it’s gearing up for more growth. It is working towards commissioning a new glass bottle line in the fourth quarter so it can move into the foodservice and on-trade market from next year. The company is also exploring flavoured water product next year, as well as a new water energy drink.

Trade enquiries welcome to or by calling 061 450 705

Bold new look

Club Mixers are the perfect accompaniment to spirits, expertly designed to blend deliciously with gins, vodkas, and whiskeys

Changes continue to evolve for the better at the number one Irish mixer brand, Club, as the brand unveils its new bold and vibrant design.

The new design sees the brand move closer to the Club master brand, with the energy from the Club brand mark echoed and built on by illustrations from its past that radiate out in a fun, playful and ownable style.

Available as 6 x 330ml can pack and 850ml PET for the grocery channel, Club Mixers ensures relevance across many drinking opportunities. Its portfolio offers a wide range of flavours, best enjoyed chilled over ice with a garnish of choice. Club Mixers are the perfect accompaniment to spirits, expertly designed to blend deliciously with gins, vodkas and whiskeys.

“We are very excited about our new Club Mixers’ design, as it is very important for us to keep such an iconic Irish brand contemporary and relevant to the modern consumer,” said Brian Greer, marketing manager, Britvic Ireland.

“Not only has our focus over the years been on delivering a unique and superior taste experience, we want everyone to know we share a purpose of savouring every moment and living life to the full along with Club,” continued Greer. “We know Irish consumers are eager to buy local brands especially ones that matter more to them. Our new modern Irish design, built on by illustrations of our rich and iconic history, is intended to appeal to a broader, younger audience, focusing on the attributes of heritage, quality, and reliability.

“We have big growth ambitions over the next five years and this next evolvement of the brand has been designed to transform how we engage with consumers, while emphasising our Irish values through our unique history.”

Nettles…Don’t die wonderin’

Wild About’s Nettle Syrup has consistently been its product leader, year on year

Wild About, the Blas na hÉireann Supreme Champion 2021, is an innovative Irish artisan company creating an award-winning range of natural food and drink from native, seasonal and wild ingredients.

“Nettles are one of our greatest native superfoods, a natural source of essential vitamins, minerals and iron,” say Fiona Falconer, who co-founded the business alongside her husband Malcolm.

“Packed with polyphenols, antioxidents, and a natural detoxifier, nettles are engrained in the memory of every Irish bare-legged kid,” she continues. “At Wild about we use simple, sustainable plant-based ingredients with naturally occurring plant compounds, vitamins and minerals to promote health and wellbeing. We started making a Nettle Syrup a decade ago, to dilute with sparkling water. It has consistently been our product leader, year-on-year.

Wild About’s Sparkling Nettle Drink contains 4.7% sugar, and is vegan-friendly with added immune-enhancing Vitamin C, while the Sparkling Fennel Drink also contains 4.7% sugar and is vegan-friendly

“We looked at where we could take it, did some R&D, reformulated the recipe, low in sugar and stable (ambient), carbonated, pasteurised in a 330ml glass bottle…ready to go, Sparkling Nettle Drink was born! Unfortunately, so was Covid, despite the social restrictions, no markets, events, promotions we still managed to produce and sell over 20k units in the domestic market. Driven by this we developed a second product Sparkling Fennel drink, with similar natural, health and wellness benefits.”

Globally there is a move to more functional beverages, a strong influence of sustainability and naturalness. Here in Ireland, in the quest for authentic goodness and natural functionality there is growing interest in wild ingredients, according to Bord Bia’s ‘Future of Adult Beverages’ report.

“There is no doubt the clear Irish trends, mirrored globally, towards more natural, beneficial, local, sustainable products,” continues Falconer, who reflects: “I do tend to sit in those Bord Bia Consumer Insights seminars going tick, tick, tick but this is the first product range we can actually scale.

Wild About’s Cocktails & Mocktails gift-pack would make a fantastic Christmas present

Despite a rather flat growth in the global beverages market, functional foods and beverages are projected to grow by 8.5%. Nettle is red hot in Germany, the world’s fourth biggest beverage market worth US$53,662m so Wild About is certainly very excited to see where this story goes.

Wild About appeals across all age ranges, from parents who to give their kids a natural drink, to grandparents who are also seeking out a different option.

“If a drink just needs to taste good and refresh, it’s water,” says Falconer. “If it needs to be more; more interesting, more salivating, more innovative…more natural, more beneficial, more sustainable, more Irish…you’d have to take a punt on a sparkling Nettle Drink!”

As a small, rural-based agri-business, the Falconers concede they don’t have the budgets of the large companies: “We need retailers to support us in return we offer what they don’t,” says  Fiona. “A unique, natural, sustainable, healthy, deliciously refreshing Irish Nettle Drink.”


Contact Fiona Falconer. M: 086 81229525. E:

Web:    Instagram: wild.about.  Facebook:



















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