What's the Impact of Sugar Tax on the UK Soft Drinks Industry?
The UK soft drinks industry has demonstrated a shift towards tastier, more natural but yet cost-effective soft drinks flavours that work for the fast food shop model.
Traditionally majority of the shops in the UK fast food sector have preferred to operate on a model whereby a free or reduced cost drink is provided within a meal deal; for example a burger with chips and a drink all sold as a price package. However this has limited the range of options that can be sold to such shops under this model, mostly to products and flavours that are made with inferior ingredients, e.g. harmful azo dyes used as colourings, and where the taste suffers as a result.
Moreover, recent trends amongst consumers has been to demand healthier soft drinks, with focus on real fruit juice and natural ingredients. But many premium positioned brands that offer ‘cleaner’ ingredients such as real fruit content, natural colourings and flavourings etc., have ended up with pricing unsuitable for the fast food or on-trade industry and instead have focused on other sectors where their products retail for a greater price. As a result there has been a dearth of quality soft drinks carbonated flavours that are available to fast food shops in the UK.
The situation has become more complicated due to the advent of the sugar tax this April 2018, where the UK soft drinks industry has taken a sharp jolt and has had to adjust. Many existing and new brands available for the fast food industry have (re)developed their soft drinks flavours by lowering sugar levels to decrease or completely nullify the impact of the otherwise costly sugar tax.
However, even though consumers are now much more health conscious than ever, the lowering of sugar levels still does not overtake the demand for quality tasting soft drinks. In a recent survey by Harris Interactive / The Grocer, 51% of consumers stated that flavour was the most important aspect when purchasing a soft drink, compared to 42% who expressed sugar levels as their main concern.
Combined, these conditions have created a shortage within the UK fast food industry for traditional soft drinks flavours that not only taste great and veer towards a healthier formulation, but do so without exceeding the price threshold of shops within the fast food sector.
This has proven to be a challenge for beverage companies, but multi-award winning UK soft drinks brand Evoca Drinks has responded with a range of exceptionally tasting carbonated soft drinks flavours which include a cola made with real kola nut and fruit flavours made with natural flavourings and colourings and formulated without the use of any alcohol, animal derivatives or harmful colourings.
The founders’ motivation from inception has been to meet consumer concerns by simply producing superior soft drinks but within a price bracket that does not set their products aside into a niche category. As a result their products are offering a much welcomed alternative to current options. In particular their mango flavour has proven very popular amongst all demographics and age groups, where until now this flavour has been largely missing in fast food shops, and also their strawberry flavour which is the first carbonated strawberry drink to be made with both natural colourings and real strawberry juice.