Big nights in don’t have to be boozy, says CCEP

For many consumers, nights in with friends and family are being treated as more of an occasion and as such, people socialising at home is a growing opportunity for retailers.

Amy Burgess, Trade Communications Manager at Coca- Cola European Partners, says these nights are often planned at the last minute, and this can make convenience format stores a go-to stop for shoppers making impulse buys for their evening ahead.

“The reason for a night at home can vary, and occasions range from a ‘date night’ for couples to a dinner party with friends, or simply relaxing in front of the TV on a Saturday night.

“Whatever the occasion, it’s likely that most consumers will be looking for an accompanying drink. With 21% of adults now choosing not to consume alcohol at all, it’s clear that soft drinks provide a major opportunity for retailers to increase their sales when catering for those enjoying nights at home.

“Retailers should monitor for occasions such as popular TV events, including reality shows and sporting events, and keep stocks high in order to meet demand. Sharing formats like 1.75L PET bottles of Coca- Cola Zero Sugar and multipack cans of Fanta and Sprite are popular choices for consumers for these occasions, so ensuring shelves are stocked up can help retailers make the most of the opportunity.”

“For many couples, spending a night in together is being treated as more of an occasion, and, as such, these ‘date nights’ are a growing opportunity for retailers. Couples’ evenings at home can take on many forms, whether it’s enjoying a homecooked meal, ordering a takeaway, or simply curling up on the sofa to enjoy a film or a TV show.”

“While the concept of ‘The Big Night in’ is usually focused around weekend events, there is no shortage of opportunities on weeknights that may see groups of friends and families get together. These can range from television events to occasions like birthdays or anniversaries that fall on a weeknight.

“Soft drinks can play an even greater role for nights in during midweek, as many people will choose not to consume alcohol when they have work the following day. Therefore, it’s important for retailers to consider any night an opportunity. Keeping good stocks of sharing formats of Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite, as well as adult soft drinks like Appletiser or Schweppes Sparkling Juice Drinks can help meet this demand, especially those looking for a premium option.”

“For many people, a night at home with friends is a direct substitute for going to a pub or a bar, and this is being reflected in their drinks choices.

“Schweppes remains the nation’s most popular mixer , whether consumed with or without alcohol. This is partly due to the popularity of cocktails and mocktails, as consumers look to enjoy an indulgent drink during a night in that differs from what they would enjoy day to day.

“Because of this, retailers should consider the importance of mixers alongside their alcohol ranges, enabling people to stock up on everything they need for their night in.

“The classic mixer chosen by those in the know, dating back to when Jacob Schweppe first put the bubble in the bottle in 1783, Schweppes is instantly recognisable to customers.

The brand offers a wide selection of variants, ranging from Schweppes Indian Tonic Water to Schweppes Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Schweppes Bitter Lemon to provide for all shopper preferences.

“Adult soft drinks is also a growing sector that is ideal for home entertaining, and products like Appletiser and Schweppes Sparkling Juices drinks are popular whether served on their own, or as an ingredient for cocktail making.

“With some consumers looking to reduce their calorie and sugar intake, retailers should look to display lower or no sugar variants of wellknown brands like Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar or Schweppes Slimline as part of their Couples’ Night In displays, alongside their ‘original’ variants.

“Sharing formats like 1.75L PET bottles of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar are also popular choices for consumers stocking up for a night in, so ensuring shelves are full can help retailers make the most of the opportunity.”

“With the increased focus on health leading some consumers to change their usual drink choice to reduce their sugar or calorie intake, retailers should look to display lower or no sugar variants of wellknown brands as part of their ‘Big Night In’ displays.

“Schweppes offers a selection of Slimline products that will appeal to those looking to enjoy a lighter option as part of their cocktail recipes, potentially leading to incremental sales growth.” “Since its launch in July 2016, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar has become the fastest-growing cola brand in Great Britain worth £148m, thanks to its sugar free credentials and great taste.”

Amy Burgess, Trade Communications Manager at Coca- Cola European Partners, says designating a space in-store for the ‘Big Night In’ occasion can add a layer of convenience for consumers, whilst also encouraging impulse purchases that can lead to incremental growth.

“These displays could see soft drinks displayed alongside other snacking products that are popular for nights at home with friends and family, as well as non-food and drink items such as DVDs and games, and it could also be effective to introduce promotions that offer discounts when these products are bought together.”