Cawston Press is making a bold multi-million pound move into canned drinks – heralding a planned evolution from juice specialist to premium soft drinks brand.
This, it estimates, will see it triple the size of its business from £6m (2013) to £18m in just three years. Cawston’s move into soft drinks’ most popular format is the next stage of a long-term investment by the brand’s owners (see notes) which has seen sales grow by over 100% in the past two years.
The investment has already helped make Cawston the UK’s fastest growing independent juice brand in the convenience sector (Nielsen – 52 w/e 05.01.13).
The company believes that, by 2017, its range of sparkling soft drinks (both canned and bottled) will add an incremental £10m to UK sales of fruit Carbonated Soft Drinks (CSDs), boosting the category by 2% as a whole.
It argues that its cans offer a refreshing break from what it describes as a ‘raft of overly sweet, additive-packed and made-from-concentrate’ canned drinks in the market. In support of this claim, Cawston cites some of the key findings of the Mintel soft drinks report of May 2013 (see notes) – including the stark finding that almost two in five CSD purchasers said that they actually try to avoid them because “they’re unhealthy”.
According to Cawston Press’ Sales Director, Dan Broughton: “There’s a major opportunity to fulfil growing consumer demand with a healthier, more natural, soft drink offering. Preservatives and additives have, for so long, been associated with canned soft drinks. There is little opportunity for consumers to choose a sparkling can that contains genuinely high quality natural ingredients with decent amounts of not-from-concentrate fruit.”
“What’s more, it’s often the case that premium CSDs have a low juice content compared to our range and they use concentrate – which we just don’t believe gives the best taste profile. The time is right – and ripe – for retailers to capitalise on a major change in consumer need states and habits for better quality soft drinks.”
Rhubarb and Cloudy Apple are inspired by quintessential British garden flavours. Each is made with pressed fruit juices that are gently mixed with sparkling water for a light and intensely refreshing drink. Like all Cawston’s products, they only use juice that has come from apples picked at prime ripeness and pressed within 48 hours – and are made using no concentrates, artificial sweeteners, preservatives or colourings. The cans will be available at Waitrose and Booths (in a six pack, RRP £4.99) and as individual 330ml cans in WH Smith, Whole Foods, As Nature Intended and Planet Organic (RRP 99p ea.), plus all good independent retailers.
Cawston’s growth has been traditionally based on the ongoing success of its 1 litre still juice blends – with innovative flavour combinations such as apple and rhubarb and ‘Brilliant Beetroot’ helping the company’s products appeal to an increasingly health-conscious public.
But, while the latter blend continues to be the firm’s biggest seller in outlets such as Tesco, Cawston has been progressively innovating with products such as ‘Dreamcaps’ (four 330ml versions of its 1 litre blends for adults), ‘Kids’ Blends’ (fruit drinks mixed with still water for a lighter children’s option) and a range of bottled sparkling drinks. Three of the latter have won Great Taste Awards and the company is looking to build on this success with these lighter, ‘on-the-go’ sparkling canned blends.
Broughton added: “Consumer demand has increased for a ‘standard’ can with better quality, healthier, lower sugar ingredients which do not contain the usual artificial preservatives and additives. This has created a new tier for a mid-priced point premium can category in the UK. Currently this category is under-represented with premium brands though and there is significant room for retailers to capitalise on this growing trend to create incremental sales.”
“9 out of 10 people in Britain include carbonated soft drinks in their repertoire and a growing amount of them are motivated to buy ones with better quality, natural and non-artificial ingredients or flavourings. We’re going to be fulfilling a strong demand in the market with these drinks and will be helping to grow this new tier of premium canned carbonates.”
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