The £1.9bn UK soft drinks market is dominated by the two major drinks companies, but also remains a somewhat fragmented market with a diverse range of smaller manufacturers also competing for market share. The two leading manufacturers are Coca Cola Enterprises and Britvic Soft Drinks who have in excess of 75% of the value share of the market. A high percentage of the Big Two’s business is in carbonated soft drinks, which is the sector of the market most at jeopardy from the change in attitude to sugar and the proposed Sugar Tax. This is likely to impact significantly on their overall performance, future growth and ultimately their profitability. Both Coca Cola and Britvic have made efforts to tap into the healthy product opportunity but with so much volume and value in their traditional brands it is difficult for them to justify the time and investment to develop and market the new variants.
With regard to the market for children’s fruit drinks the two leading brands are:
Fruit Shoot (Britvic)
The biggest brand in the children's drink market is Fruit Shoot, made by Robinsons. Fruit Shoot was launched in the year 2000 and now sells in excess of 500million bottles per year. Their most popular selling drink; apple and blackcurrant no added sugar actually contains 1.6 grams of sugar per 200 ml serving and Acesulfame K and Sucralose artificial sweeteners.
Fruit shoot was seen as a better alternative to some of the heavily sugared carbonated drinks like Coca Cola, however as consumer awareness has grown about the side effects of artificial sweeteners there has been a huge backlash especially from mums/gatekeepers.
They also have a 'my 5' range, these contain between 16.5 g and 17.5 grams of sugar per 200ml serving and a 'Hydro' range which is zero sugar but contains both Acesulfame K and Sucralose.
The most recent figures available show that in 2012 sales of Fruit Shoot were £96m.
Capri Sun (Coca Cola)
Capri Sun is another popular children's drink that is situated near Frutree on the retailer’s shelves. Capri sun have several flavours containing between 17g and 24g per 200ml serving. They also manufacture a no added sugar variant, this contains 1.6 g of sugar and sucralose artificial sweetener.
The concern is that the retailer’s sees these as healthy options in the children’s drinks market and consumers alike, which is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
There is no doubt that the large corporate organisations will attempt to address the healthy zero sugar options but to date they have been slow to respond due to the fact that they have such a large percentage of their business in key brands which are sugar based with a strong consumer following. Their marketing approach is to try and deflect this major issue with clever marketing without addressing the real issue at source. A key part of our strategy is to drive accelerated growth with an aggressive Education and Marketing program in 2015-2016, which will require significant funding.