Research has shown that beer is still a must-stock for retailers in 2022. In fact, it is currently the fastest growing category within BWS (Nielsen) in the UK which demonstrates its ongoing popularity.

When considering which beers to stock, brands play an important role for consumers when they are choosing which beers to buy, as customers typically stick to ones they know and trust (Kantar).

People naturally gravitate more towards products they know and rely on them for great quality and taste – which results in a high rate of sale.

Lauren Priestly, Head of Category Development, Off Trade at Diageo, comments: “Guinness is an iconic, high-quality and trusted beer choice, accounting for 92% of total off-trade stout brand sales in the latest 52wks to the end of February 2021 and is available in 4pack, 10pack and 15pack formats. Retailers that provide a variety of different formats and products within the Guinness portfolio will reap the benefits of doing so. Maintaining a selection of multipack formats also increases customer basket spend and research has shown that listing a 10pack with a 4pack drives 30% of incremental sales.”

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout introduced a new look for its 330ml bottle format and 24 x 330ml multipack in September 2021, encouraging people to try the stout by refreshing its pack design.

“Inclusivity within a drinks range is also an important consideration, and we know that low & no beer options have been steadily growing for a number of years,” adds Priestly. “Guinness 0.0 taps into the increasing demand for high-quality and great tasting no and low alcohol options. Boasting the beautifully smooth taste, perfectly balanced flavour and unique dark colour that Guinness is known for, Guinness 0.0 offers Guinness with everything except alcohol. With evolving consumer expectations, it is vital to incorporate low and no alcohol options that deliver taste assurances.”

Kevin Fawell, Off-Trade Sales Director at Molson Coors Beverage Company, comments: “The premiumisation trend has been growing for some time now, and that momentum shows no sign of stopping. Consumers are willing to pay extra for a more premium choice when they’re socialising at home and world beer, super premium cider and premium ale are all growing ahead of the core category.”

World beers continue to increase their volume share of the beer category (IRI) as consumers look to expand their horizons beyond the traditional options on the shelf. Retailers’ ranges should cater for this and include a variety of international beers such as Staropramen and Cobra.

Volume sales of Staropramen are up more than 50% in retail (IRI), with its hoppy, malty flavour providing a point of difference that really appeals to consumers. Due to its growing popularity, Molson Coors launched a new 6x330ml can multipack across the Staropramen range last year, tapping into increasing demand for multipack formats.

The super-premium cider category is also in growth (IRI), with products like Aspall Cyder proving increasingly popular as a result. It has been produced at the original Aspall Cyder House for almost three hundred years with a crisp flavour that is unique to East coast ciders. The brand’s provenance, unique taste and sleek, sophisticated packaging all marry up to create a unique option for consumers looking for something more premium and sales have increased in value by 9.6% over the last year in retail (IRI).

“However, the importance of core lager options shouldn’t be overlooked. The category still accounts for 23% of total off trade lager sales; therefore, it is important to strike a balance between a selection of premium options alongside best-selling core lines,” adds Fawell.

“As the number one lager brand in Great Britain, Carling is the ideal option and is a trusted brand retailers look for to help drive sales. Its perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness make it a staple choice that can be enjoyed across a host of different occasions this summer.”

Coors is now worth almost £320million in the UK (IRI) and the brand has undertaken a full refresh – including switching from Coors Light to ‘Coors’ – as part of a multimillion-pound investment to drive growth in the premium 4% category.

HEINEKEN UK is launching Strongbow ULTRA Dark Fruit, a 4% ABV fruity cider at 95 kcals per slimline can from the UK’s favourite cider brand Strongbow.

“Consumers, especially generation Y and Z, want to see alcoholic drinks that fit with their desire to lead more balanced lifestyles. However, the category falls behind other FMCG segments such as desserts and snacking with limited lower calorie options, leaving a big gap in the market,” HEINEKEN UK Cider Brand Director Rachel Holms said. “ULTRA is a refreshing, thirst-quenching cider sold in 330ml sleek cans at 30% fewer calories ml for ml compared with Strongbow Dark Fruit and taps into the lucrative on-the-go and impulse occasions, providing a big sales opportunity for stockists UK-wide.”

A refreshingly light cider with natural berry flavourings, the familiar Dark Fruit colour and a mouth-watering flavour, Strongbow ULTRA Dark Fruit is targeted at 18–40-year-old men and women and ranks in the top 10% of all alcohol concepts tested among its target audience (Kantar).

ULTRA plays into strong market desire for lighter, lower calorie drinks, providing a huge opportunity for retailers to grow cider penetration from its current 45.4% level and flavoured cider from 30.9% (Kantar). Strongbow Dark Fruit’s launch in 2013 shook up the cider category by feeding consumer demand for innovation and is now the number two cider on the market, paving the way for ULTRA’s success.

Holms continued: “With 59% of consumers looking for lighter choices when shopping and 60% of Brits saying taste is the most important factor when buying a drink, there is a clear gap in the market for a lower calorie, flavourful cider, which ULTRA fills.”

Strongbow ULTRA Dark Fruit is a market pioneer, opening a new segment within the cider category with its bold low-calorie credentials highlighted on pack. Extensive product testing confirmed 70% of people who tried ULTRA would ‘probably or definitely buy (Kantar)’. ULTRA also appeals to a broader range of drinking occasions from low-to high-tempo, ranking highest for a quiet night in, followed by something to drink before going out.

Rolling out as single 330ml cans and packs of 4 and 10, Strongbow ULTRA Dark Fruit will be backed by a powerful £12M marketing campaign covering digital, television ads and impactful point-of-sale to drive sales in stores, as well as a 500,000 mini sampling can campaign.

A trend identified within the Fentimans 2022 Market Report is the pent-up demand for socialisation, caused by prolonged on-and-off lockdowns, driving premiumisation in the OOH industry.

Nigel Tarn, marketing manager at Fentimans, comments: “The desire for high-quality, experience-led occasions has led some people to treat themselves and trade up their drinks, which will undoubtedly fuel the trend for premiumisation that we have seen in recent years. In fact, CGA’s research shows that premium and super-premium choices account for one in three of all spirit purchases now, while nearly half of consumers say they typically spend more to get a higher quality of drink in the On-trade.”

In the soft drinks and mixers market, this trend is being driven by younger adults, with 26% of 18 to 24 year-olds willing to upgrade to a higher quality soft drink—eight percentage points higher than the all-consumer average (18%).

The trend for health-conscious drinkers is one that Fentimans expects will only continue to influence the soft drinks and mixers industry – Kombucha has moved rapidly from niche to mainstream, with numerous brands fighting for a share of this space.

“In years to come, we anticipate new entrants offering numerous health benefits such as digestive health, which has seen real innovation in the adjacent categories of yoghurt, milk alternatives and protein enriched kefir drinks,” adds Tarn. “Take for example Fentimans’ recent launch of its new Good & Fruity soft drinks range, which has been made with 35% fruit juice, as well as Calcium, Zinc and Vitamin B6 to support digestion and metabolism. Not only this, the transparency and traceability of drinks’ contents will be increasingly important to consumers, with non-natural ingredients likely to be treated with caution.”

The Fentimans 2022 Market Report highlights that a greater importance should be placed on soft drinks and mixers within the hospitality setting, as nearly a third of consumers said they would drink less or no alcohol in the On Premise following the reopening of hospitality venues.

Throughout Spring and Summer, the most popular Fentimans drink tends to be Rose Lemonade, served either as a mixer or on its own. The warmer seasons also see the brand’s Ginger Ale and Pink Grapefruit tonics do well, these are sure to bring refreshment on a hot day. Tropical Soda also proves a popular choice, bringing a bright and tropic feeling to any summer’s day.

Fentimans has recently announced the launch of its ‘Good &Fruity’ range, which aims to meet the needs of a growing audience seeking functional health benefits in premium soft drinks.

The new ‘Good & Fruity’ range consists of three flavours: Cherry & Blood Orange, Apple & Elderflower and Lemon & Pink Ginger. The drinks have been fortified with Calcium, Zinc and Vitamin B6 to support digestion and metabolism by helping the release of nutrients and natural energy from food.

With the latest data from Fentimans’ 2022 Market Report indicating that almost three quarters of adults (73%) are now proactively seeking to lead a healthier lifestyle, Fentimans has selected three top-selling flavours and skilfully crafted new recipes to be 35% fruit juice with no added sugar.

Caitlin Barker, Marketing Assistant at Continental Wine and Food Ltd, comments: “Silver Bay Point, a leading British Wine brand, are excited to announce that they are running an on-pack promotion across retailers in 2022. This consumer favourite British Wine, which has retained its ABV of 8%, offers easy drinking styles to suit everyone. The range is accessible to all, vegan friendly and comprises Red, White and Rosé providing fabulously light, refreshing and fruity serves perfect for every taste and occasion.”

The ‘Win Every Day with Silver Bay’ campaign provides consumers the opportunity to win a £50 cash prize every single day throughout the promotional period and an ultimate grand prize of £1500 in the final draw, which every entrant is in with the chance of winning.

Every entrant also receives a FREE £5 Prezzybox voucher simply for participating. A promotional label has been introduced to highlight the daily cash prize, with a peel and reveal mechanic to unveil the unique code for entry.

“Silver Bay Point appreciate that it has been extremely difficult for everyone throughout the covid pandemic and are extremely happy to offer their consumers the chance to win cash prizes to treat themselves,” adds Barker.

Funkin Cocktails Marketing Director, Ben Anderson, comments: “When merchandising Funkin Cocktails it’s important to take seasonality into account and the options that will resonate best with consumers at certain times of the year. Promoting major sporting events and creating points of sale that encourage shoppers to get involved with these, such as making the link between Wimbledon and Funkin Cocktail’s Strawberry Daiquiri SKU, will prove beneficial.”

As shoppers often look to buy drinks to enjoy with friends during key sporting moments, they’ll be looking for the right pack size to suit this.

With £1 in every £4 spent in RTDs now being spent on cocktails and 89% of cocktail sales coming from Grocery Mults (Nielsen), it’s undeniable that larger pack sizes are sure to sell well around these times when shoppers are looking for a convenient way to stock up for hosting opportunities and parties in one trip.

With the cocktail market now worth £10m MAT (+27%, Nielsen) in impulse, 2022 will provide a wide range of occasions for consumers to enjoy these in an RTD format, such as outdoor drinking and eating events in Spring and Summer.

“Creating cross merchandising opportunities in Impulse channels will allow consumers to make the natural link between the food and drink categories and treat themselves to both for occasions that combine cocktail drinking and snacking,” adds Anderson. “Our Pina Colada’s are perfect for sipping on alongside Caribbean food at a BBQ in the summer, our Passion Fruit Martini is great paired with desserts like ice cream and sorbet for a night in with friends, and our Strawberry Daquiri can be enjoyed with salads and snacks at a picnic in the sun.”

“Retailers should make sure they’re allocating enough space to the most popular Funkin Cocktails SKUs to ensure displays look polished and have pride of place, and to avoid having to continually re-merchandise whilst managing consumer demands,” suggests Anderson. “Similarly, stocking popular spirits brands will ensure that those purchasing Funkin Cocktails’ Shaker SKU will be able to pick up everything they need to create a refreshing and exciting beverage in one easy, stress-free trip.”

The booming RTD market is currently worth a staggering £508m and is continuing to grow at 14% YOY (Nielsen) as consumers make the most of beverages that combine ease and taste. RTD cocktails are massively contributing to this growth with the subcategory experiencing an equally strong 44% (Nielsen) growth in the Off Trade.

The popularity of RTDs and Cocktails in the Off Trade is largely reflective of a trend for consumers to have more premium food and drink experiences at home and it’s important to ensure these experiences are accessible at a range of price points.

Funkin Cocktails is one of the brands leading the charge when it comes to accessibility and this is reflected by the brand’s mission to make great tasting cocktails available to all. Creating beverage options that are convenient, perfect for drinking on the go, premium quality and affordable has led to an incredible growth of 134% in value sales (Nielsen) in the past year, an increase that shows no sign of slowing down. The past two years of restrictions has seen an undeniable shift in consumer drinking trends, and an increased interest in entertaining at home is a large part of this.

As consumers continue to look for high-quality drinks to enjoy without leaving the house, Funkin Cocktails has continued to grow its portfolio of RTDs with a range of options that are made from quality ingredients and guarantee a premium serve for minimum cost and effort.

Funkin Cocktails Price Marked Packs, including Passion Fruit Martini, Strawberry Daquiri and Pina Colada variants, have experienced rapid success since launch in May 2021 and as a result Funkin Cocktails is now the #1 cocktail brand in the market (Nielsen). The brand has seen a 113% growth YoY across the whole Off Trade channel for its bottles and 24% growth for our shaker packs (Nielsen).

Funkin Cocktails is on a mission to show that pre-mixed cocktails aren’t all cheap artificial liquids and that the same great taste, standard and texture of cocktails crafted at the bar can be achieved at home.

“Consumers tend to gravitate towards classic cocktails for at home consumption, despite this, it can be easy to be drawn to the latest trend of flavours with exotic names and ingredients in the RTD space; but it’s important to keep in mind that these niche offerings can often polarise opinion and confuse shoppers,” says Anderson. “Consumers like to be able to trust the products they pick up in the convenience sector and know that they are getting good value for their money. Stocking Cocktail flavours that are familiar to consumers from bars and restaurants will ensure that retailers are keeping up with the latest trends whilst offering something for everyone.”

In fact, UK cocktail drinkers have specific favourites when it comes to which beverages, they choose for drinking, and specific occasions they’re likely to purchase them for, such as for a treat/reward (33%), to wind down or chill out (31%) and to catch up with a group of friends (27%) (CGA).

 

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