July 2019 might have seen the highest ever UK temperature recorded here in Cambridge where the mercury hit 38.7C, followed by a record late August Bank Holiday temperature of 31.6C at Heathrow, but the summer wasn’t all about heat. Rainfall was a significant talking point too, particularly across parts of the North and Midlands. It’s enough to turn you to drink…
And it’s now easier than ever with innovation in the drinks category including pack formats to address a growing trend toward ready to drink (RTD) alcohol offerings. What initially started as mini bottles of wine and prosecco has evolved into a multiplicity of portable on-the-go formats of pre-mixed spirits and cocktails, with packaging ranging from slimline cans to screw top glass bottles and plastic glasses. The RTD market is booming with Nielsen data highlighting that sales have grown by 28% in the past year, 3 times faster than the total alcohol category [Nielsen 52 w/e 18 May 2019].
G&T is a classic example, with a number of new variants launched this summer. We assessed two pre-mixed G&T’s through Cambridge Foodfax from well-known brands. Sipsmith G&T comes in a slimline 250ml can, whilst Fever-Tree Light G&T is presented in a clear 275ml glass bottle. The branding and packs stimulated a high level of initial interest, but Fever-Tree achieved the highest ratings after sampling for being ‘excellent all round’. The challenge for both drinks and other RTD offerings is to achieve a ratio of gin to tonic that is acceptable to the majority.
But some like to keep a clear head. More and more of the younger generation are shunning alcohol; a reported quarter of 18 to 24-year olds class themselves as non-drinkers [Independent 10 October 2018] fuelling huge growth in premium soft drinks with a 33% year on year value increase in sales [Fentimans Market Report 2019].
Traditionally this is a category dominated by mixers which account for 63% of the market, with flavoured carbonates occupying just under 10% of the market [Fentimans Market Report 2019]. But this is increasingly an artificial division, masking a trend to flavours and formats that can be enjoyed on their own or with a dash of alcohol.
Take Fever Tree Clementine Tonic Water. Not only a complementary mixer for gin, it’s easy to drink and a refreshing alternative to alcohol. Likewise, on test Franklin & Sons Pomegranate, Hibiscus & Rose infused soda was considered to have a ‘lovely floral flavour’ that lends itself to being a ‘perfect summer drink’ or an ideal mixer.
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