Soft Drinks sales constitute an important element of revenue in the vending and food service arenas, so to get a handle on current trends – and how they have been affected by the pandemic – who better to consult than Allan Walker, Operations Director at Automatic Retailing Northern – ARN – the UK’s leading supplier to vending operators and part of the Kitwave Wholesale Group.
‘One of the first things we noticed during the pandemic was the fact that customers stopped buying what we call ‘tertiary’ items, that’s to say lines that are ‘nice to have’ rather than ‘must have’, Allan said. ‘In terms of Soft Drinks for instance, where a customer might have offered four versions of Coke Zero or Diet Coke in a single machine, that was cut back to one.
‘Customers concentrated on top selling items and took no chances’, he added. But as the return to work took its first faltering steps, another anomaly was noted in the ARN warehouse on the banks of The Tyne. ‘We saw a massive increase in sales of energy Soft Drinks, particularly the ‘Monster’ brand’, Allan said. ‘I’m not sure what the driver is behind this growth but it’s showing no signs of abating. In fact, ‘Monster’ has re-positioned from being a tertiary brand into one of our key lines.’
Sales of bottled water have remained constant throughout the emergency, but Allan points out a new phenomenon that is having a significant impact on the marketplace: vitamin water. Two brands are making conspicuous headway: VITHIT and Get More. ‘VITHIT is a unique blend of water, juice, tea, and vitamins, all combined to provide the ultimate health drink’ Allan says. ‘There are fewer than 35 calories per bottle, making it the perfect alternative to sugar and calorie filled drinks. Get More is a healthy, great tasting, functional soft drink so consumers not only get their daily dose of vitamins but they’re also delicious and contain absolutely no sugar. When they first came out, vitamin Soft Drinks were a niche product that just a handful of customers got behind, but these days they are gaining traction at pace.’
Some things haven’t changed during the past couple of years. The traditional red can of coke is still a huge seller, as is Red Bull. You’ll find few soft drinks offers that don’t embrace these two. But, having said that…‘You can’t help but notice that there’s a steadily increasing demand for healthy, great tasting, functional soft drinks’, Allan concluded.
There’s more news from ARN – not to mention John Crichton’s famous blog! – HERE on Planet Vending
* Featured image courtesy of Coinadrink