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Soft Drinks

Britvic’s 2017 research into the importance of soft drinks at Christmas revealed that almost half of consumers (45%) were set to buy more soft drinks at Christmas and over a fifth (21%) planned to drink less alcohol. Russell Goldman, Commercial Director, Foodservice & Licensed at Britvic urges operators to be well prepared for this seasonal sales opportunity.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, restaurants, pub and bars become go-to locations as the festive celebrations get underway and social occasions increase and expand ahead of the big day.

Whether consumers are drinking alcohol or not, soft drinks often play a central part of these social occasions as people look to treat themselves during the festive season. In fact, Christmas is the biggest sales period for soft drinks with 25 litres sold every second, and consumers typically spending more on soft drinks than usual thanks to the higher number of social occasions.

Interestingly, our 2017 research showed that almost a quarter (21%) of consumers didn’t think there were enough premium soft drinks to choose from. This increased to 27% among those aged 25-34 and highlights a major gap in the market that operators should fill.

Soft DrinksPremiumisation

Outlets should take the opportunity to trade up by offering customers something exciting they cannot create at home, such as celebratory cocktails or seasonal serves. Focus on the classics but remember that people will be feeling adventurous and open to trying new things, so offer fun alternatives too to spice things up over the festive period.

Moderate drinking

It is clear from our research that there has been a real shift towards moderate drinking at Christmas. As a result, there is likely to be a high demand for soft drinks throughout the season.

Soft drinks for special occasions

If there is one time of year consumers are open to treating themselves, it’s at Christmas. Take advantage of the opportunity this presents by creating seasonal mixed serves that encourage people to trade up from their usual soft drink choice. Due to the number of special occasions dotted throughout the festive season, serves including spirits usually prove especially popular – but it is important to include interesting non-alcoholic serves too for those driving or choosing not to drink alcohol.


  1. Make the most of groups
    Don’t miss out on the extra footfall and larger groups in outlets over the festive period. Offer promotions to encourage trade-up and develop set menus to suit the office party occasion.
  2. The importance of presentation
    The minimal extra effort of creating a visually appealing seasonal mixed drink or cocktail is far outweighed by the trade-up opportunity it presents and is more likely to inspire repeat purchases.
  3. Link seasonal soft drinks with food
    With sales likely to increase across all key categories, make sure they are helping to boost each other by creating crosscategory promotions or training bar staff to suggest food and drink pairings.
  4. Don’t forget about families
    Busy parents are likely to be out and about with the kids doing Christmas shopping and festive activities, so make sure you are offering a welcome break from the festive rush during the day and ensure your range includes plenty of options for little ones.

Pouring drink into glassDID YOU KNOW

  • 25 Litres of Soft Drinks are sold every second over Christmas 
  • Christmas is the biggest sales period for Soft Drinks; 8.7% of sales
  • Soft Drinks accounts for 13.5% of Drinks value (excl. Hot Drinks) – worth £369m
  • Soft Drinks are growing ahead of Beer, Wine and Champagne which is in decline
  • Soft Drinks is bigger than Total Wine, Champagne, Cider and Ale 
  • Consumers are drinking less alcohol and soft drinks are the most sought-after alternative
  • Premium Soft Drinks under-index on value versus other Beer, Wine and Spirits categories 


Facts courtesy of Britvic.

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