Sugar free, mixers and a hot summer drive growth of cans in soft drinks market

Canned drinks have seen a growth surge in the soft drinks sector following the hot summer and rising popularity of low sugar beverages, according to the latest research revealed by the Can Makers, the UK industry trade body for drinks can manufacturers.

The recently imposed sugar tax has driven the popularity of sugar free alternatives, which has subsequently fuelled the growth of canned carbonated soft drinks. Sugar is the number one health concern for consumers for the fourth consecutive year, according to Nielsen consumer research (2018), with half of British shoppers wanting to purchase healthy products.

Part of this increase can also be attributed to the hot summer. Weather has a big impact on sales across the retail industry and drinks cans are no exception. The market research, conducted by Nielsen, shows soft drinks were the second fastest growing super category this year. Looking at cans specifically, the pack format experienced a 4% sales increase versus last year (Units, MAT September 2018), meaning cans now account for 20% of soft drink unit sales. The convenient, lightweight and easily chilled drinks pack was a top choice for many consumers to quench their thirst in the heat.

There is also a clear trend of consumers moving towards larger single can multipacks; 330ml can multipacks (large packs of 24) experienced a rapid 15% growth as shoppers switch from large multi serve bottles.

The future mixer trend

Mixers are playing a key role in the soft drinks can market as well, with traditional mixers in can increasing by 39% (Units, YA 2018). As people see cans as an affordable yet premium pack format that fits in with their lifestyle and drinks consumption habits change, premium mixers are becoming more and more popular with consumers. The can sizes available are great for mixers too. A 150ml can is an ideal amount of mixer to be used for one drink. There is no need to leave half empty bottles or having to use flat tonic for the next drink. Mixers paired with gin in particular are on the rise as gin has also experienced a significant increase in sales. This area of the market looks set to continue to grow for beverage cans.

Marcel Arsand, Chairman of the Can Makers says,

“Soft drinks continue to be a key growth driver for the drinks can market. Consumers shopping habits are clearly changing as they seek lower sugar alternatives that can be bought in bulk and are convenient. Combined with the need to use more sustainable packaging, now is a great time to be switching more soft drinks production to the infinitely recyclable aluminium can.”

Research conducted by Nielsen into the soft drinks market, 2018.

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