Unit growth is crucial for the future

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THE soft drinks category enjoyed value sales growth in 2018, helped along by a hot summer and – more unusually – the implementation of a new tax on high sugar soft drinks.

A price hike for drinks with 5g of sugar or more per 100ml may have led to short-term value sales growth, but John Luck, chief marketing officer at Carabao, reckons unit sales should be the focus for the future.

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“The sugar tax levy and its corresponding price increases gave a short-term boost to the category value, with moving annual turnover growth of 12% far outstripping unit growth of 6%.

“It is now of critical importance for the category to begin showing strong, consistent unit growth – rather than value growth – in order to create sustainable growth.”

For retailers looking to drive incremental sales in energy, Luck suggested turning shopper attention to less sugary drinks – such as Carabao.

“Promoting less sugary drinks is a great way of introducing energy drinks to new shoppers who we know reject high sugar energy drink brands, which in turn will grow category penetration and encourage trade-up, allowing retailers to cash in,” he said.