Top of the class Drinks go Sugar Tax-free for the new school year

The new school year starting this September presents a strong sales opportunity for retailers as school kids and college students come in to pick up drinks, snacks and convenience food items as part of their daily routine. Displays targeting these habitual shoppers offer the ideal means to showcase offers and new products and drive sales.

To take just one category, soft drinks and waters, in the wake of the Sugar Tax the focus this autumn is on going as sugar-free as possible. Ideal for parents wanting to make sure of what’s in their children’s lunchboxes, Radnor Hills’ School Compliant Soft Drinks range is a delicious variety of flavoured soft drinks that comply with the Government Regulations for Schools. Since installing their two Tetra Pak manufacturing lines in 2016, Radnor Hills have been producing pure fruit juice and juicy water options in portion controlled packs for schools. In another innovation Radnor Hills have recently launched their refreshing Welsh spring water in a new 250ml tetra prisma carton as an alternative to stocking glass or PET.

Most retailers no longer offer small single bottles of water at the back of large stores and instead, only offer them in the chiller at the front. As John Letford, Sales Development Controller for Danone Waters UK points out, this means thirsty shoppers must now pay at the checkout and re-enter the store if they want to buy a small single from the chiller, which could be a missed opportunity for the category. Bottled Water continues to be one of the major growth categories in soft drinks, growing ahead of the market at +5.2% in 2017, while remaining the biggest volume category ahead of cola. John Letford adds that plain still water is seeing the highest rate of value switching in the category, as it contains zero sugar. The trend to “planned on-the-go” consumption is having a material impact on the promotions being offered to shoppers, with small multipacks driving growth in the category. Retailers have used bottled water as a hero category to drive significant increases in feature space.

As Coca-Cola European Partners’ Amy Burgess reports, soft drink formats for instant consumption are in growth as more people look to hydrate on the go. With this trend set to continue, retailers should stock a variety of pack sizes in chillers for school kids and students to pick up quickly in their morning, lunchtime or afternoon shop.

Having broadened its non-cola offering in recent years, CCEP has made more changes since March. First, it has changed the Capri-Sun recipe without compromising on the taste of the UK’s largest kids juice drink, by introducing stevia, the naturally sourced sweetener. CCEP’s regular Capri-Sun variants now contain 50% less sugar, so the whole Capri-Sun range is Soft Drinks Tax-exempt. CCEP have also introduced a new flavoured water range, Oasis Aquashock, offering consumers a healthy, hydrating option in their lunchbox with a twist. CCEP’s other major recent launch, Fuze Tea is a premium, low-calorie blend of fruits, botanicals and tea, which is Soft Drink Tax-exempt and available in two variant, Green Tea & Mango Chamomile and Black Tea, Peach & Hibiscus.