One can wax poetic about drinking wine or the newest whiskey release to grace the market. But while the booze trend is fading, one bar staple seems to remain: sodas.
According to CGA from NielsenIQ’s BeverageTrak service, 43% of U.S. consumers drink soft drinks while on the premises. The average U.S. retailer makes almost $22,000 a year (numbers pulled from the last 12 weeks through early July 2022) from soft drinks, whether they’re fizzy or more craft cans. These drinks include lemonades, juices and sodas.
During that time last year, checks that included soft drinks averaged $53 – people were spending and ready to drink soft drinks. Granted, fine dining, premium bars and ‘smooth casual places’ show the highest check values
“There are dramatic differences within the soft drinks category, particularly when it comes to how consumers make purchase decisions – with occasion and channel playing a significant role in that path to purchase,” says Matt Crompton, regional director of Nielsen IQ in North America.
The study also noted that energy drinks continued to capture the attention of drinkers, although sports bars were largely to blame. When it comes to servings, most users of the energy drink category choose to consume this style on their own (56.6%), however nearly a third (32.9%) would also consume them in a cocktail format – a growth opportunity for those who are interested. hypnotized drinks.
Digging into the mainstream brands, cola reigned supreme, with two of the three best-selling soft drink brands falling into that category. Cola even made it to the top of their higher end ‘casual polished’ restaurant channel and colas appeared on high value checks in premium bars and fine dining.
But as we see sodas continue to thrive, traditional Coke flavors are lagging behind — according to a GlobalData report, those flavors declined 4.3% in volume in 2020. Instead, consumers they’re looking for more creative options, from craft sodas to things like sparkling water. with hemp and adaptogens in photo-friendly cans.
What can retailers and brands learn from this information?
Maybe that soda is feeling more important than ever. The global carbonated soft drinks market size was valued at USD 221.55 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 237.04 billion in 2021.
Data firm Grandview Research reports that the global market size of carbonated soft drinks is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 4.7% between 2021 and 2028. The report noted that “modern day consumers can be seen being focused on convenience, and thus a A large portion of everyday shopping involves single products, rather than conventional bulk purchase products,” the report states. “This has led to shelf-stable innovations and environmentally friendly packaging made with clean, renewable materials and fewer preservatives and chemicals.”
Previously, there was a monoculture of flavors in the soda space — household brands with identifiable labels. Now, there’s a new batch of craft sodas that make opening a tab more exciting than ever. In 2013, Fever-Tree burst onto the market with the mantra, “if 75% of your drinks are mixers, why not mix with the best?” In 2021, Fever-Tree generated £311.1m in revenue, up 23% on the previous year. The British mixer brand cited ‘significant momentum’ in the United States as the reason for the increase.
Also in the booze-adjacent space, Blake Lively has Betty Buzz — cute fizzy cans that also work well when filled with booze. Major breweries are starting to produce hop waters – the beer world’s answer to alc-free soda.
Hella Bitters has an extremely good soda and bitters, and Greenbar in Los Angeles now makes an UnSpritz. Ghia makes lovely fizzy aperitifs, as does Giglia – both scratch for both alcohol replacements and soda alternatives. Sodas like these feel in step with the ever-growing non-alcoholic space—as the sober curious movement takes hold, (non)drinkers want something that feels less infantile than a nostalgic can of Coke. These new brands offer all the convenience of a traditional soda, but with flavors and designs that feel more in line with a grown-up lifestyle.