No sugar rush here: Soft drinks industry is being driven by sales of low and no sugar products

Georgina Varley
Sugar rush? Not among the soft drinks industry
Sugar rush? Not among the soft drinks industry (Source: Getty)

The soft drinks industry underwent a transformation in 2016 according to Britvic’s 15th annual soft drinks review.

The study found that growth in low and no sugar products was accompanied by decline in the sale of full sugar drinks. The government’s proposed soft drinks industry levy is driving reformulation.

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Paul Graham, managing director GB at Britvic, said: “We’re starting to see real change in consumer tastes this year, which is driving sales in low and no sugar products as well as a strong demand for premium drinks.

We’re also seeing strong sales of soft drinks at restaurants, pubs and bars, as more people eat out more often but choose not to drink alcohol.

Pepsi Max sales grew by more than half last year, with the number of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar sales increasing more than 22 per cent. Meanwhile, water sales lifted by just over 10 per cent and smoothie sales grew by over a quarter.

With the total value of UK soft drink sales estimated to have been £14bn last year, soft drinks play a significant and growing part in the economy.

Retail, which combines grocery and convenience and impulse, saw value growth of more than one per cent, with periods of deflation meaning volume grew ahead of value at above 1.5 per cent. The food service and licensed channel also saw significant growth at more than 3.3 per cent, driven by the increasing trend for eating out.

Read more: The sugar tax won't raise as much as expected (but it's a good thing)

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