How to make a splash with soft drinks

Consumers are now seeking balance rather than excess when it comes to drinking, with many choosing soft drinks over alcohol when drinking out.

Reading time 5 minutes

From Dry January to mindful drinking, consumers are now seeking balance rather than excess when it comes to drinking, with many choosing soft drinks over alcohol when drinking out[1]. In fact, 60% of consumers are moderating their alcohol intake[2] and looking for interesting alternatives, including those which are healthier. For example, Pepsi MAX® resonates particularly well with those looking for low calorie alternatives without having to compromise on great taste.

Whilst curbs on spending is a key reason for people drinking less alcohol, improving health and fitness also saw a 26% increase as a reason to moderate in 2023[3]. With the younger generation most likely to limit their alcohol[4], moderated drinking appears to be here to stay. So, for operators, this shift in drinking habits presents a huge opportunity to drive sales towards other drinks which can be served as a great alternative to alcohol. This is particularly true for traditional carbonates, the most popular category with consumers not drinking alcohol[5].

To make the most of evolving consumer demands, operators should consider offering customers a greater choice of alternative drinks. Elevating serves, offering premium options to alcohol, and pairing drinks with food to showcase low and no options, will also provide additional opportunities to trade up on sales.

Offer food and drink combos

To encourage trade up, consider providing customers with food and drink pairings where possible. In fact, 49% of consumers consider food pairing suggestions for low and no alcohol drinks to be an underexplored opportunity[6]. Taking advantage of food and drink combos not only enhances both value and quality perceptions for the customer, but it can also help operators increase order sizes and drive more sales growth. Pairing burgers with Pepsi MAX® is a classic combination, made even better with the recent rebrand. The new visual identity highlights the refreshing and bold taste of Pepsi MAX®. Rolling out across the Pepsi MAX®, diet, regular, and flavoured cola ranges, the rebrand will also be supported with new glassware and bottle formats, allowing operators to excite customers with a complete drinking experience.

To provide a truly indulgent experience, consider a ‘good, better, best’ approach- pairing Pepsi MAX® and a burger is a great place to start but there are plenty of options. For a better approach, try branded Pepsi MAX® glassware and ice garnishes to provide consumers with the style and quality they’re looking for when enjoying a drink out. Elevate experiences even further by incorporating popular soft drinks in cocktails like adding Pepsi MAX® to whiskey and Amaretto for a twist on a classic Godfather. Another way to encourage diners to trade up is with our Mathieu Teisseire syrups which can be used across a whole host of mixed drinks to provide a range of flavours.

Deliver on quality and taste

Despite moderating alcohol intake, customers are still looking for restaurants, pubs, and bars to provide exciting experiences which they can’t get at home[7]. Operators can meet this demand by offering sophisticated serves which deliver on quality and taste. Why not provide interesting alternatives to alcohol, like J2O mocktails. Available in Strawberry & Orange Blossom Mojito, White Peach & Mango Daiquiri, and Blackberry & Blueberry Martini, the variety of interesting flavours ensures that every customer has a premium option whether toasting to a special occasion or simply unwinding with friends.

[1] Molson Coors Hotlines, Dec 2023

[2] Mintel - Attitudes towards Low- and No-Alcohol Drinks, UK – 2023

[3] KAM Low+No 2023: The Customer Perspective

[4] Mintel - Attitudes towards Low- and No-Alcohol Drinks, UK – 2023

[5] KAM Low+No 2023: The Customer Perspective

[6] Attitudes towards Low- and No-Alcohol Drinks, UK - 2023

[7] Lumina Intelligence, Dec 2023