Sweet enough

Since the sugar tax was introduced, the playing field was levelled, paving the way for a new flock of soft drinks that wear their health benefits on their sleeve; at the same time, it gave established brands a chance to recalibrate their marketing. The result is a highly competitive segment with an incredible range of choice for consumers and retailers alike.


Brand Central

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16 May 2019

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With the introduction of the sugar tax last year, the soft drinks category changed overnight. Low or no-sugar offerings became the de facto most popular segment, with the major brands moving to reformulate to fit in with the new rules. Meanwhile, the change offered newer brands the opening they were looking for to boost their popularity in a segment where brand loyalty is very strong

Following the introduction of the much-talked-about sugar tax last year, which imposed a levy on beverages depending on their sugar content, the Irish Beverage Council (IBC) said that a significant percentage of the market was already not subject to the tax.

The council, which is a division of Ibec, said that this number is due to the industry’s “35-year journey to reduce sugar content in drinks”, and that there was no evidence that the tax would have a knock-on effect on obesity levels in Ireland, in the short or long-term.

The tax is here to stay, however, and while it remains to be seen whether the government’s predicted €40m raised in the first full year of the tax would be reached, there is no doubt that its presence served to help remind consumers of what is in their soft drinks. The knock-on effect of this is that the playing field was levelled somewhat, allowing newer brands which market themselves from the off as low in sugar or sugar free to emerge.

With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at the summer’s lineup of soft drink launches and initiatives, from new directions for giants like Coca-Cola and 7 Up to bespoke brands like Fentimans and Tenzing. Read on to learn what brands you should be stocking this summer to provide customers with the choice they expect.

Energetic launch

Energy drinks are a growing market in Ireland. In fact, energy drinks are ahead of the nonalcoholic ready-to-drink market, growing by 14.8% in 2018 to €103m*. Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland has set a new objective to capture this growth trajectory for retailers, marrying the much-loved brand, with the added energy that consumers seek: Coca-Cola Energy. This new drink is aimed at young adults (18-35) and will be promoted in line with CocaCola’s responsible marketing guidelines.

With that great Coca-Cola taste and “feeling” that consumers already know and love, Coca-Cola Energy’s caffeine content is derived from natural sources, guarana extracts, B vitamins and no taurine. It is available in 250ml cans and in two variants – with or without sugar.

Commenting on Coca-Cola Energy’s natural ingredients and traditional taste, CocaCola Ireland country manager Petre Sandu said those two qualities were at the heart of the new development. “We are proud to invite people to try a new and different energy drink,” Sandu said, “one that is designed to complement upbeat and busy lives.”

Matthieu Seguin, general manager, CocaCola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland said the brand’s ongoing strategy is to offer customers a wide range of drinks, catering to different lifestyles and occasions. “Coca-Cola Energy is a great example of that,” Seguin said. “We plan to continue to expand and diversify our range of products to respond to evolving consumer needs.”

The new drink features a distinct visual identity and will be supported by an integrated marketing campaign.

Cold comfort

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland is diversifying further with its new range of premium ready-to-drink cold coffee through the launch of Honest Coffee. At launch, there will be two great-tasting variants in the range, Latte and Mocha. The objective is to tap into the growing consumer demand for ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee in Ireland, a sector which is worth €1m and is growing by 11.7% year to date*.

Honest Coffee, which is exempt from the sugar tax, will be available in a re-sealable 240ml single PET bottle, designed to suit consumers with an on-the-go lifestyle. The 42.5% coffee content and lower sugar delivers a taste profile less sweet than some ready-to-drink coffee options, appealing to consumers who want a more authentic cold coffee experience.

The addition of Honest Coffee to Coca-Cola HBC’s portfolio in Ireland and Northern Ireland is another milestone in the company’s journey to become the leading 24/7 beverage partner on the island. The company says it is committed to responding to evolving consumer needs for great tasting drinks, with benefits.

Honest Coffee will launch with the support of a fully integrated marketing plan that includes in-store point of sale, PR, sampling and digital. *(Source: Canadean, 2018 Q3 YTD)

The king of chill

The king of chill is about to be introduced to a new generation of shoppers as 7 Up reunites with Fido, the mascot first seen alongside the brand in the early 1990s. The new campaign, set to appear on limited-edition 7 Up Free packs this summer, will encourage people to “slow down and appreciate the little things in life” as part of the brand’s “Feels good to be free” campaign.

The fully integrated campaign will launch in May, kicking off with TV, out-of-home, digital, experiential and disruptive POS in-store to support the limitededition packs ensuring it is front of mind for shoppers this summer.”

The 7UP Free limited edition packs will be available from May to October and in addition to the TV campaign, it will be supported by outdoor, PR, sampling and experiential, digital and VOD activations throughout the summer.

Exquisitely soft

Fentimans has been making its botanically-brewed, exquisitelycrafted drinks since 1905. These award-winning artisanal beverages use the finest natural ingredients and are made using a time-honoured botanical brewing technique.

It takes no fewer than seven days to make Fentimans drinks, and that process hasn’t changed much in over 100 years. The knowledge and expertise has been passed from generation to generation of the Fentiman family.

The Fentimans range comprises of premium soft drinks and mixers, available in a range of sizes from on-the-go 250ml can (available in the convenience channel) to the 750ml bottle available in SuperValu and Tesco stores. Fentimans premium soft drinks come in a range of flavours: Curiosity Cola, Cherry Cola, Rose Lemonade, Elderflower and Ginger Beer.

For more information on these, visit www.fentimans.com or contact your local C&C Gleeson rep.

Clear success

The 40-year success story of Ishka Irish Spring Water since it was founded in 1978, has been the purity and clarity of the brand’s AA-certified spring water. Flowing from exclusive natural springs and bottled on-site in Ballyneety, Co. Limerick, Ishka Spring Water is unprocessed and untreated for maximum health and wellness benefit, just as Mother Nature intended. The natural filtration of the local bedrock gives Ishka its exceptional pureness with an unrivalled fresh taste.

Ishka Spring Water is available in a wide range of sizes and formats from 250ml to 5L. The sports cap 1L is great to sip all day long, while the 750ml and 500ml bottles are ideal to quench a thirst when active or on-thego. Finally, the 250ml sports cap is perfect for small hands and staying hydrated at school.

Some of the newest additions to the Ishka range include Ishka Sparkling Water and its flavoured range, which includes Red Apple, Strawberry & Raspberry and Lemon & Lime offerings. These contain zero sugar and only five calories per 500ml sports cap bottle.

Ishka has also partnered with Breast Cancer Ireland to help raise funds to aid breast cancer research. For every pink Ishka 500ml bottle sold, the brand will make a donation to this very worthy cause. Meanwhile, Ishka is now the Official Water Sponsor of Athletics Ireland and the Fit4Life Programme.

For further information on any of its product ranges, contact Ishka’s national sales manager Maurece Wallace, at maurece.wallace@irishspringwater.com or 086 608 0823.


Shloer's non-alcoholic offfering is an ideal alternative to an alcoholic beverageWith alcohol-free alternatives becoming mainstream and with events such as “sober October” and “dry January” becoming increasingly popular, the world of non-alcoholic drinks has shown itself to be dynamic and exciting.

Shloer plans to strengthen its position as an adult soft drink alternative to alcohol with two innovative new ranges: Shloer Spritzed and Shloer Pressed. In a ground-breaking move, these new sparkling drinks do not use grape juice as a base and have been introduced to meet a growing demand for more soft drink choices to consume in place of alcohol.

Spritzed is a selection of ‘light, dry, aperitif alternatives’ in Bitter Orange, Grapefruit & Mint and Bitter Lemon & Lime. This trio of bottles will be accompanied by the new Pressed lineup in a can, available in Strawberry & Lime, Rhubarb & Apple and Mixed Berries.

The launch of Pressed and Spritzed presents the allimportant choice and variety that consumers want from Shloer. To capitalise on this opportunity and to provide the breadth of choice that shoppers want across many different occasions, SHS will be working to highlight the sales uplift that will be achieved by listing the new Shloer ranges.

Plant-based energy

A new kind of energy is set to change the way people energise themselves: the natural kind. So says Tenzing, which goes beyond the traditional energy drink to offer a natural alternative to a market “flooded by sugar and synthetic-filled products”. Not only does Tenzing introduce a healthy alternative choice for consumers, it also hails the arrival of a brand that is socially aware of the impending environmental issues we are facing.

With 60% less sugar than traditional energy drinks, and just 48 calories per can, Tenzing is a far cry from offerings currently on the market. Packed with plant-based ingredients from all over the world, and completely free from any artificial ingredients, it is the healthy answer to those looking for a natural lift. The power of green coffee beans, guarana and green tea are the golden ingredients of Tenzing, providing the same caffeine hit as a small cup of coffee, but with a twist.

Tenzing is packed full of natural vitamins and minerals, offering a triple hit of natural caffeine, Vitamin C and electrolytes with every sip. And to make for an even better drink choice, Tenzing is enclosed in a BPA free and 100% recyclable can.

Founder Huib Van Bockel, who first brought Tenzing to market in 2016, says he believes the plant industry is growing weekly. “I’d wanted to bring a healthy alternative to the market for a long time,” Van Bockel said, “so Tenzing came from a deep-rooted place in me.

“I wanted people to have the option of a plant-based, lowsugar, natural and environmentally conscious option at a time when personal, mental, and environmental well-being is arguably more important than ever,” he added.

Tenzing Natural Energy is distributed on the island of Ireland exclusively by Galánta Food & Beverages. For enquiries, email sales@galantafoods.com or phone (+353) (0)1 462 3566.

Sophisticated squash

Real fruit in every drop” is how Robinsons describes itself; a perfect low-sugar drink suitable for children and grownups. This much-loved household brand has been a family favourite around Ireland for decades, with a range that provides something for everyone and is widely available from supermarkets around the country.

Robinsons is committed to meeting the changing needs of its consumers. As a result, the Robinsons Cordial and Creations ranges offer new and exciting fruit pairings to both the Robinsons brand itself and the wider flavour concentrates category. The range is sweetened from natural sources, contains no artificial sweeteners, colours or flavours, and is just 50 calories per serving.

These new flavour combinations are: Pressed Pear & Elderflower, Raspberry, Rhubarb & Orange Blossom and Crushed Lime & Mint. The range comes in a premium 500ml glass bottle for a more refined experience, and with an RSP of €4.

Driving dairy

Flavoured milk is an established soft drink segment currently growing +11.7% year on year*. However, many retailers have been missing the opportunity to grow their soft drinks category by including dairy drinks – such as Yazoo – within the fixture front of store.

Yazoo is a soft drink brand bigger than household names such as Sprite and Tango in the UK**, making it a key brand to stock. Like many other dairy drinks, it is exempt from the sugar tax. It contains more than 95% milk and offers nutritional benefits, including being a source of calcium, protein and vitamin B2. Retailers should use this as an opportunity to drive additional sales through education on sugar and providing alternatives whilst still meeting the shopper mission.

Yazoo is also the only brand to offer a no added sugar or artificial sweeteners milk drink for children, Yazoo Kids. Containing only 96 calories per bottle, it meets the Change4Life recommendation of two snacks with a maximum of 100 calories a day, making it a welcome option for parents buying snacks for their children. With year-on-year growth of 21%, it has been a considerable success. Yazoo also introduced a limited-edition flavour, Choc Mint, last year which has been a significant seller.

*(Source: IRI InfoScan Total Market, Flavoured Milk, Value sales 52 we 5.1.19)
**(Source: IRI Marketplace, GB Convenience, 52we 30/12/18, Value Sales)


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