64% of Consumers would switch to a lower sugar version of their favourite soft drink rather than pay more for full sugar….. however consumer choice is key

With growing consumer awareness of the sugar levy – due to come into force from April 2018 – availability and visibility of Low and No Sugar options is becoming increasingly important to consumers. A recent survey conducted on behalf of Rio Soft Drink found that 64% of consumers would switch to a lower sugar version of their favourite drink rather than pay more for full sugar*. Where there is not a No/Low sugar version available the risk is that these consumers will walk out without purchasing the product.

Retail operators need to be prepared for the impending price differential between a full sugar soft drink and a low or no sugar product (an additional 8p in sugar levy for a 330ml can); and consider how this might impact their shoppers’ behaviour. At the same time – however – we must remain mindful that whilst consumers are increasingly seeking low/no sugar options, they are still invariably demanding the choice between natural full sugar products and low/no sugar options which tend to contain sweeteners. A significant proportion of consumers do not appreciate the taste of artificially sweetened products; this has been demonstrated by the consumer backlash towards some brands who have introduced artificial sweeteners to their “full sugar” products in order to avoid passing on the sugar levy.



“Rio will neither be compromising on the natural credentials – nor on the taste – of its Tropical (full sugar) product as we believe our consumers should be able to make their own choices when it comes to sugar vs sweeteners.” comments Brand Manager Danielle Obbard. “In order to ensure we are providing consumers with this choice we have this year expanded the available formats for our Rio Tropical Light (No Added Sugar) variant. Both 330ml can (24 pack) and 500ml bottle (12 pack) are now available in Price Marked and Non Price Marked packs (as is the case for the standard Tropical variant). Within a Convenience retail environment where both Rio Tropical (full sugar) and Rio Tropical Light (No Added Sugar) are ranged alongside each other we are seeing comparable rates of sale”.


The same research conducted by Kantar TNS also reported that there has been a 50% increase in the number of consumers who buy Rio soft drink*, a trend which is also reflected in the brand’s 18% YoY volume growth**. This could be attributed to Rio’s successful rebrand that happened earlier in the year, inspired by Brazilian Street Art.

*Source: OnlineBus Survey conducted by Kantar TNS, Sept 2017; sample of 2012 GB adults aged 16-64

**Source: IRI Infoscan 52wk to 16.09.17

Author: kimbarnard

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