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UK Soft Drinks Review Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Soft Drinks Review market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report explores usage of and attitudes towards soft drinks. Both on- and off-trade sales are included in the total market size. The overall market size has been compiled as a total value of the five categories listed below:

Data for each of these types of soft drink includes sales through retail outlets where the drink is purchased for the purpose of in-home consumption or for drinking on the go, and on-premise sales where the product is bought to consume on-site. Milk/flavoured milk and tap water are only included in the consumer research to help provide context.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Kiti Soininen, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The soft drinks market has faced a challenging period as sugar has come under public spotlight since 2014. These drinks have, however, retained a substantial place on consumers’ menus. The significant challenge ahead is how to respond to the current scrutiny of single-use plastic packaging, in terms of both government initiatives and legislation and changes in consumer behaviour. Kiti Soininen
Head of UK Food, Drink and Foodservice Research

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Robust growth in 2018 was fuelled by the hot summer
              • Figure 1: UK soft drinks value sales, 2013-23
            • Spotlight on sugar ensures healthiness is on consumers’ radar for soft drinks
              • Plastic waste comes into the limelight
                • Widespread efforts to curb alcohol intake create opportunities for soft drinks
                  • Companies and brands
                    • Coca-Cola retains its unassailable top position
                      • Industry responds to spotlight on packaging waste
                        • Sugar and calorie claims climb further
                          • Functional claims explore health and gut health
                            • Low-sugar/sugar-free drinks took the lead in adspend in 2018
                              • Britvic ups support for new adult squash and cordials
                                • The consumer
                                  • Nearly everyone drinks soft drinks
                                    • Figure 2: Types of soft drink drunk and tap water drinking in the last month, December 2018
                                  • Recyclable packaging leads in driving a greener image for soft drinks
                                    • Figure 3: Factors seen to make soft drinks environmentally friendly, December 2018
                                  • Recyclability sparks the strongest associations
                                    • Figure 4: Perceptions of soft drinks packaging types, December 2018
                                  • Few people see CSDs or squash as flavoursome
                                    • Figure 5: Perceptions of selected soft drinks, December 2018
                                  • Plastic packaging waste concerns prompt half of users to limit these drinks
                                    • Figure 6: Attitudes towards soft drinks, December 2018
                                  • Health considerations lead when soft drinks step in for alcohol
                                    • Figure 7: Factors that would encourage choosing a soft drink instead of an alcoholic drink, December 2018
                                  • What we think
                                  • Issues and Insights

                                    • Concerns over plastic packaging waste are putting users off
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • The onus is on operators to drive awareness of green aspects beyond packaging
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                                • Health considerations lead when soft drinks vie to step in for alcohol
                                                  • The facts
                                                    • The implications
                                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Robust growth in 2018 was fuelled by the hot summer
                                                        • Spotlight on sugar ensures healthiness is on consumers’ radar for soft drinks
                                                          • Plastic waste comes into the limelight
                                                            • Widespread efforts to curb alcohol intake create opportunities for soft drinks
                                                            • Market Size and Segmentation

                                                              • Robust growth in 2018 was fuelled by the hot summer
                                                                • Figure 8: UK soft drinks value sales, 2013-23
                                                              • Fruit juice/juice drink volume sales hit by sugar concerns
                                                                • Figure 9: UK soft drinks value sales, by category, 2013-23
                                                              • Mixed performances in energy drinks, sports drinks enjoy an uplift
                                                                • Squash and cordials
                                                                  • Bottled water
                                                                    • Carbonated soft drinks
                                                                      • Forecast methodology
                                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                                        • Spotlight on sugar ensures healthiness is on consumers’ radar for soft drinks
                                                                          • Soft Drinks Industry Levy came into force in April 2018
                                                                            • Most soft drinks users opt mostly for healthy drinks
                                                                              • PHE sets sugar reduction targets for juice- and milk-based drinks
                                                                                • Plastic waste scrutiny extends to soft drinks
                                                                                  • Plastic waste comes into the limelight
                                                                                    • Public water refill points aim to reduce single-use plastic waste
                                                                                      • Deposit return schemes on the cards for England and Scotland…
                                                                                        • …trialled by retailers, drinks companies and Windsor & Maidenhead
                                                                                          • Tax aims to up the use of recycled plastic content
                                                                                            • Drinks makers join Plastics Pact
                                                                                              • 2018 weather provides a boost for many drinks
                                                                                                • Figure 10: UK sunshine hours, by season, 2013-18
                                                                                              • Widespread efforts to curb alcohol intake create opportunities for soft drinks
                                                                                              • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                • Coca-Cola retains its unassailable top position
                                                                                                  • Industry responds to spotlight on packaging waste
                                                                                                    • Sugar and calorie claims climb further
                                                                                                      • Functional claims explore health and gut health
                                                                                                        • Low-sugar/sugar-free drinks took the lead in adspend in 2018
                                                                                                          • Britvic ups support for new adult squash and cordials
                                                                                                          • Market Share

                                                                                                            • Coca-Cola retains its unassailable top position
                                                                                                              • Original Coke raises prices in response to SDIL
                                                                                                                • Figure 11: Leading brands’ sales in the UK retail soft drinks market, 2016-18
                                                                                                              • Diet Coke benefits from brand revamp
                                                                                                                • Coke Zero Sugar continues its strong performance
                                                                                                                  • Leading energy drinks brands enjoy booming growth
                                                                                                                    • Innocent and Tropicana feel the struggles of the fruit juice market
                                                                                                                    • Start-ups and Disruptors Case Study – Ugly Drinks

                                                                                                                      • Company overview
                                                                                                                        • What is it?
                                                                                                                          • Founded:
                                                                                                                            • Company mission statement:
                                                                                                                              • Founders’ story:
                                                                                                                                • Mintel analyst view
                                                                                                                                  • Mintel Trends
                                                                                                                                    • Why it could succeed
                                                                                                                                      • Why it could fail
                                                                                                                                        • The verdict
                                                                                                                                          • Product information
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 12: Ugly Drinks product range, February 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Media profile
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 13: It’s Time For The Ugly Truth, February 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Social media metrics
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 14: Social media metrics for Ugly Drinks as of February 2019
                                                                                                                                          • The brand’s view
                                                                                                                                            • Revenue in the last year (as of 1st December 2018):
                                                                                                                                              • Sources of funding and support
                                                                                                                                                • Target audience:
                                                                                                                                                  • What consumer needs does the range meet?:
                                                                                                                                                    • Product stockists
                                                                                                                                                      • Looking to the future
                                                                                                                                                      • Start-ups and Disruptors Case Study – Nix & Kix

                                                                                                                                                        • Company overview
                                                                                                                                                          • What is it?
                                                                                                                                                            • Founded:
                                                                                                                                                              • Company mission statement:
                                                                                                                                                                • Founders’ story:
                                                                                                                                                                  • Mintel analyst view
                                                                                                                                                                    • Mintel Trends
                                                                                                                                                                      • Why it could succeed
                                                                                                                                                                        • Why it could fail
                                                                                                                                                                          • The verdict
                                                                                                                                                                            • Product information
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Nix & Kix product range, February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                            • Media profile
                                                                                                                                                                              • Social media metrics
                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 16: Social media metrics for Nix& Kix as of February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                              • The brand’s view
                                                                                                                                                                                • Sources of funding and support
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Target audience
                                                                                                                                                                                    • What consumer needs does the range meet?
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Product stockists
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Looking to the future
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Industry responds to spotlight on packaging waste
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Various operators up recycled content in packaging…
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 17: Evian references 50% recycled plastic on-pack, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                            • …and look to partnerships to drive R&D…
                                                                                                                                                                                              • …as well as recycling
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Water brands look to cartons and cans
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 18: Examples of water packaging highlighting sustainability, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                • PET holds its top position in new launches, glass and cans gain
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lucozade trials Ooho!’s edible packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sugar and calorie claims climb further
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • SDIL sees sustained shift towards lower-sugar launches
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 19: Share of new sports & energy drinks, water, carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks and cordials/squashes launches, by sugar content, 2015-18
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Recipe changes fuelled by SDIL do not trigger low-sugar claims
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 20: Share of new soft sports & energy drinks, water, carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks and cordials/squashes launches, low and zero-sugar and L/N/R calorie claims, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Less sweet flavours take many forms
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Unsweetened flavoured waters and vegetable ingredients cater to anti-sweet sentiment
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 21: Examples of drinks with less sweet and vegetable flavours, 2017-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Flavoured waters seen as more tasty and exciting than unflavoured
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 22: Consumer perceptions of soft drinks launches with and without vegetables as a named flavour ingredient, April 2018-February 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 23: Examples of drinks with vegetable flavours with strong perceptions as tasty, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hot flavours remain rare
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Examples of drinks with spice flavours, 2017-18
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Tea offers another means to explore less sweet flavours
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Examples of drinks with tea flavours, 2018-19
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Modest activity in drinks positioned as alcohol alternatives
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Examples of drinks positioned as alcohol alternatives, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Functional claims explore health and gut health
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Pushing an active health positioning with vitamins…
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • …and protein and energy
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 27: Examples of drinks linking with an active health or protein proposition, 2017-18
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Digestive claims draw on traditional ingredients and live bacteria
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Examples of drinks pushing gut health associations, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Leading brands continue to explore safe flavour twists
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Colas with flavour twist explore berry flavours
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Fanta looks to grape and Lucozade to apple
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Examples of drinks launching fruity flavour variants, 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Low-sugar/sugar-free drinks took the lead in adspend in 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on soft drinks, by category, 2015-18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • The leading drinks groups continue to dominate spend
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on soft drinks, by leading advertisers, 2015-18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Coca-Cola focuses on taste of Original and Zero Sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Coke highlights its unchanged recipe as Soft Drinks Industry Levy arrives
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Coke Zero Sugar focuses on taste with ‘First taste’ ad
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • ‘One way or another’ puts the focus on Coke Zero offering a familiar brand experience
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Updated take on the ‘Diet Coke break’ follows 2018 revamp of the brand
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Diet Coke ‘Put Perfect on Ice’ ad, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Premier League partnership is in Coke ads’ spotlight in 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Coke updates Christmas push with social media campaign
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ad campaign looks to encourage recycling
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Capri-Sun highlights new 50% less sugar recipe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Fanta drives online visibility by linking with social media influencers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Britvic ups support for new adult squash and cordials
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Fruit Creations and Fruit Cordials ad campaigns focus on ‘grown-up’ positioning
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Robinsons Fruit Shoot continues to celebrate children’s passions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • ‘Feel Good to be Free’ campaign supports 7UP Free overhaul
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • J2O focuses on social moments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • PepsiCo puts adspend behind Pepsi Max and Tropicana
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Pepsi Max relaunches taste challenge in 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Tropicana Essentials is PepsiCo’s focus in juice drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lucozade Ribena Suntory steps up support for Lucozade and Ribena
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lucozade looks to tie-ups and continues “Energy beats everything”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ribena offers music gig tickets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Nearly everyone drinks soft drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Recyclable packaging leads in driving a greener image for soft drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Recyclability sparks the strongest associations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Few people see CSDs or squash as flavoursome
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Plastic packaging waste concerns prompt half of users to limit these drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Health considerations lead when soft drinks step in for alcohol
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Soft Drinks Usage

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • CSDs lead, with fruit juice and squash the closest chasers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Types of soft drink drunk and tap water drinking in the last month, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Soft drinks usage reflects lifestyle patterns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Half of users report a daily soft drinks habit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Frequency of drinking soft drinks in the last month, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Factors Seen to Make Soft Drinks Environmentally Friendly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Packaging waste is front of mind for consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Factors seen to make soft drinks environmentally friendly, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Recyclability leads in boosting soft drinks’ green image
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Use of recycled material offers a USP among two in five, tax will dilute USP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Pooch & Mutt Turkey & Duck Health Food for Adult Dogs packaging with environmental claims, September 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Other green aspects must build awareness
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 37: The Meatless Farm Co Meat Free Mince with on-pack environmental claims, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Perceptions of Soft Drinks Packaging Types

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Environmental issues are top of mind in packaging associations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Recyclability sparks the strongest associations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Perceptions of soft drinks packaging types, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Recyclability links closely with low perceptions of environmental baggage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Recyclability warrants visibility, but so do other environmental aspects
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Glass bottles and aluminium cans have weak image as recyclable among younger groups
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Perceptions of Selected Soft Drinks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Few people say CSDs are flavoursome, compromising their core appeal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • CSDs show a weak image as flavourful
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Recent flavour NPD looks to be hitting a note
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 39: Perceptions of selected soft drinks, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • CSDs’ strong treat image goes with weak everyday perceptions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • 16-24s are the most positive about CSDs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Squash/cordials trump CSDs on flavour, but just a third hold this view
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Need to elevate flavour image
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Hydration remains a strength to build on for squash/cordials
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Fruit juice/juice drinks have a surprisingly low image as nutritious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Three in 10 see fruit juice/juice drinks as nutritious
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Recent NPD dials up nutrition through fortification
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Attitudes towards Soft Drinks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Plastic packaging waste concerns prompt half of users to limit these drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Doubts linger over the green credentials of recycling
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 40: Attitudes towards soft drinks, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Fizzy drinks refill stations appeal widely
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Packaging concerns give only a moderate boost to making fizzy drinks at home
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Factors That Would Encourage Choosing a Soft Drink Instead of an Alcoholic Drink

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Health considerations lead when soft drinks step in for alcohol
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Factors that would encourage choosing a soft drink instead of an alcoholic drink, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • A less sweet taste is more important than copying alcoholic drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Relaxing drinks would chime with one in four 18-34s
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Herbal ingredients can help forge links with relaxation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Various brands push time out from hectic lifestyles in their marketing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Total UK value sales of soft drinks, best- and worst-case forecast, 2018-23
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Share of new soft sports & energy drinks, water, carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks and cordials/squashes launches, by package material, 2014-18
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on soft drinks, by highest-spending brands, 2015-18