Coca-Cola continues its dominance of the UK carbonates market

Press Release   •   Jul 02, 2013 09:30 BST

The UK carbonates market posted off-trade value growth of 2% and on-trade value growth of 1% in 2012. This growth was largely driven by cola carbonates, which reported a 4% off-trade value increase in 2012, compared to 3% growth in the previous year, to reach an off-trade value of £1.8 billion.

The standard low calorie cola variants of the core brands proved a popular choice for health-conscious consumers, driven in particular by the performance of Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd's Pepsi Max brand. The standard low calorie cola carbonates category reported the strongest off-trade value growth in carbonates in 2012, reaching sales of £901 million.

There was a slight shift in consumer preference towards carbonates in 2012. With continued pressure on disposable incomes, UK consumers gravitated towards carbonates brands that they know and trust. According to trade sources, there has also been a general shift from still drinks to carbonates, both in terms of product listing and consumer preferences.

The increasing trend of cooking at home, home gatherings, home parties and multipack offers have made carbonates an attractive choice. Furthermore, constant value unit price drops and the expansion of the convenience stores channel have further stimulated the carbonates category.

A new report titled 'Carbonates in the United Kingdom', published on, stated that Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd remained the leading player in carbonates in the UK in 2012. Major events and launches also gave its products a further boost. The company celebrated its 125th birthday with a retro campaign and the launch in late 2011 of vintage-style multipacks. It was also the official sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics, which gave it total control of soft drinks sales during the event.

Despite a very strong year of market visibility for Coca-Cola products, the clear winners in terms of value growth were the Pepsi Max and Pepsi brands, from Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd. Within low calorie cola carbonates, Pepsi Max saw an off-trade value share hike from 15% in 2011 to 19% in 2012.

The brand reported 28% off-trade value growth, taking its value from £139 million in 2011 to £177 million in 2012. This growth helped Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd, ranked second overall, to gain two percentage points in terms of off-trade value share to reach 22% in carbonates in 2012.

Value growth within the UK carbonates market be limited by continued promotional offers and discounts, increased multipack formats and the continued economic pressure, which is expected to impact disposable incomes, placing downward pressure on unit prices.

For more information on the UK carbonates market, see the latest research: UK Carbonates Market

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