The last 12 months has seen strong sales for the drinks sector, says Jen Draper, Head of Marketing at Global Brands, especially in the ready-to-drink (RTD) market. RTDs saw year on year growth of 4.6% in the off-trade, outgrowing wine, spirits, cider and beer, driven by demand for greater flavour choices and convenience.
RTDs have traditionally been sold in bottles, but recently cans have become the leading format worth more than bottles in both value and volume. This is partly due to new premium spirits and mixers being sold pre-mixed in cans.
Demand for cans is also being fuelled by their convenience at out of home drinking occasions and their creative designs. Consumers want their drinks to reflect their styles. Hooch is seeing significant growth as a 440ml can with its eyecatching packaging bringing the retro brand up to date.
The craft trend has also filtered into the RTD market. Previously centred around beers, it has now crossed over into other categories, with RTDs being no exception.
Global Brands, launched Crooked, the UK’s first alcoholic craft soda. Its slightly hoppy notes appeal to beer drinkers and its all-natural fruity flavour provides an alternative for consumers wanting drinks that aren’t hugely sugary and synthetic.
From here on in, we predict the RTD market will increasingly play a part in the expanding craft space.
This sector is used to being one of the first to adapt to changing consumer taste so we expect more products with a ‘craft’ feel to hit the shelves.
Recent months have also seen a demand from consumers for fruit flavours. Crooked has capitalised on this, with flavours like raspberry & lime, and blood orange & passionfruit.
VK is continuing to grow, but our orange & passionfruit and tropical flavours are growing faster than the traditional blue flavour. Students and young millennials make up the largest age group who drink RTDs and want a variety of flavours to represent their personalities and image.