Soft drinks have come a long way in recent years. They’re now more innovative and sophisticated than ever before and there’s so many options to choose from, whatever your thirst. With the sugar levy here in the UK and a continued focus on low sugar, or no-sugar drinks across the globe, health conscious consumers are seeking out more natural products with nutritional benefits, shunning drinks with artificial ingredients and trading up from mainstream brands and sugary drinks, for drinks that are, according to Drinks Insight Network, “Better than regular soft drinks.” So, what’s the latest in soft drinks? Read on for our thoughts.
Stylish packaging & refined flavours
It’s clear that soft drinks have grown up. As we become increasingly aware of the negative effects of drinking alcohol, demand for low and non-alcoholic sophisticated beverages that also provide a great taste and an enjoyable experience, have modernised the category that was once, in the main, aimed at children. Premium soft beverages that are marketed as an alternative to alcohol, with stylish packaging and refined flavours, have been created to suit all types of occasion, mirroring the craft spirits trend.
Capitalise on the demand for healthy, authentic soft drinks
Gunna’s new range of craft soft drinks are an example of this. Containing less than 5% sugar the brand is directed at millennials. The complex drinks blend sweet, sour, bitter and spicy notes and are available in four unique flavours including Steelworks, a blend of sparkling water, cola tonic and natural gingers. Gunna’s CEO and founder stated: “We know there is a real opportunity to capitalise on the demand for healthier, more authentic soft drinks. Low on sugar doesn’t have to mean low on taste and stand-out flavours are at the core of what we do.”
Dalston’s are another example. They have launched an updated look and new flavours for its range of “honest, additive-free and better tasting” soft drinks aimed at the adult soft drink market including Fizzy Elderflower, Ginger Beer and Cherryade. The brand is stocked in over 200 Waitrose stores and their Managing Director has stated: “As consumers are embracing alcohol-free alternatives at home and on nights out, they are looking for more exciting soft drinks than the usual sugar-heavy suspects.”
With health clearly being a key driver in purchases, plant-based diets remain a rising trend. According to Nutrilitious, a plant based white paper shows that more than half of British shoppers say they are planning to, or considering adding more plant-based food and drink into their diets over the next year. Health and the environment are big instigators for purchasing plant-based beverages.
Big brands capitalising on the trend include Coca-Cola European Partners with the launch of their plant-based drinks range AdeZ. With no added sugar, AdeZ is a dairy free smoothie that contains seeds, fruit juices and vitamins. Coca-Cola describe the drink as “A new, plant-based snacking drink packed with deliciousness that’s perfect to enjoy at any time of day as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.”
Fevertree the must-pour brand of choice
Another key trend in soft drinks continues to be the growth in tonics. The classic tonic has been the go-to gin and vodka mixer for decades, yet with the gin craze exploding over recent years, particularly with craft distilled gins, it's no surprise that more exceptional tonic waters are being produced to match their fine gin counterparts.
One example is that of Fever Tree. According to The Drinks Business, sales of Fever Tree tonics and mixers rose by 77% in 2017, even with other premium brands entering the marketplace. It has quickly become the must-pour brand of choice at many trendy bars and restaurants worldwide with their low-calorie tonic being one of the brand’s best-sellers. The Guardian have stated that Fever-Tree is not only popular in the UK, but also in North America, “Where people are consuming more long drinks.” The brand also sells well in Europe with their non-alcoholic ginger beer being a popular choice in both Germany and Italy. And the future for Fever Tree? They’re currently branching out into dark mixers expecting to “reinvorgorate the dark spirits category” as well as extending their successful range of low calorie mixers.
Ignite new interest in traditional ranges
Many brands are igniting new interest in soft drinks, bringing fresh concepts and innovative approaches to traditional beverages. The health and wellness trend is set to continue, as is the increasing demand for new drinks experiences, more conscious drinking and also convenience; yet overall taste continues to reign supreme. As Britvic have stated in their 2018 soft drinks report: “Taste is the number one factor when choosing a soft drink.” And of course it should be!
Experts in soft drinks
Here at Simpsons Beverages we’re experts in soft drinks manufacturing and can produce your perfect drink, or your entire soft drinks range. Whether choosing from our wide product portfolio of masterfully made craft sodas, boutique tonics, premium dispensed drinks and more, or creating your own unique beverage range, let our experts help you to realise your refreshing idea, assisting your entire project from design to delivery. Get in touch if you’d like to request a sample of any of our beverages for your outlets, or simply to chat about how we can help update your soft drinks offering to suit the evolving marketplace.