What's driving drinks brands to diversify?

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It’s an exciting time for soft drinks companies and consumers alike. Consumer needs are shifting, while tastes too are evolving, as we make healthier, more informed and ethical product choices alongside growing concerns towards obesity and sugar. And drinks companies of all sizes are responding quickly, moving fast in today’s dynamic market, innovating to remain relevant and stay ahead of the game.

Reformulation & lower sugar ranges

One key example of this is the move to low or no sugar drinks. Last year and earlier this year a lot of drinks brands reformulated their ranges in anticipation of the sugar tax. The drinks industry reacted positively, providing inspired, great tasting solutions. Here at Simpsons we’re proud to have been a part of this, successfully reformulating over 480 drinks for 192 customers, improving recipes whilst reducing sugar. Not only this, but the trend for low and no sugar has seen us develop fresh, new ‘below the levy’ drinks concepts, such as natural energy drinks, cola’s and low-calorie craft sodas for many clients both here in the UK and in Europe. 

Premiumisation & personalisation

Yet it’s not only sugar and health that remain top of the agenda. Other trends such as premiumisation, personalisation, convenience and consumers seeking out exciting new taste sensations, are each driving drinks brands of all sizes to diversify their product portfolios. Many are branching out, creating never before seen flavour combinations, new concepts and entering new markets with a view to generating consistent commercial growth.


What are the big brands doing?

Pepsico, Belvoir, Coca-Cola, Fevertree and Bottlegreen show great variety in their offering. Taking both health and convenience into account, Coca-Cola are continuing their diversification strategy with ready to drink teas containing ingredients such as juices and botanicals that are low in calories. Whilst the acquisition of Costa Coffee, the number one coffee shop brand in the UK, will give the brand giant a coffee platform across parts of Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa too.

PepsiCo are concentrating on other growth areas such as bottled water and ready-to-drink teas by creating new flavours and developing new advertising campaigns for their tea brands such as Lipton and Pure Leaf. Earlier this year they also announced they’re investing in an ecommerce strategy which may include developing new products and packaging specifically to appeal to online shoppers.

Consumers have carved the craft niche

Consumers demanding natural, organic, or high-quality ingredients have helped to carve a niche for the rise in craft sodas. Made by playing on familiar flavours that are liked by consumers, such as cream sodas and colas, these drinks are made on a smaller scale with a focus on the integrity of their ingredients and the adult palate. Those already in this space are also diversifying. Independent craft soda maker Dalston’s have made their premium soft drinks more accessible through offering craft sodas in cans, in addition to their traditional brown bottles. Here at Simpsons we offer our clients the opportunity to develop their own craft sodas range, a segment primed for further growth across the young adult and middle-aged adult market.* We also offer our own range of quality Craft Sodas to choose from. You can find out more here.

Drinks brands must demonstrate their ability to evolve

To appeal to the consumers of today, and tomorrow, soft drinks brands must demonstrate their ability to evolve, to meet the needs for a refreshingly, healthy, accessible and enjoyable treat. This offers us all in the industry further opportunity to differentiate and add value. As a soft drinks manufacturer, we’re here to help support our clients’ visions of the future. Whether through innovation in adventurous, natural flavours, or capitalising on product choices by moving into a new category, we can help you to create and deliver aspirational products that satisfy the demanding modern consumer. And, as we know, changes to a brand’s product portfolio, however small, or large, can make a huge difference.

Are you ready to take your drinks business to new heights?  Discuss your project with us today, we’d be delighted to hear from you. 

*Source: Grand View Research industry analysis of the craft soda market.


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