Monster colour 1

Source: CCEP

Between them, Monster, Red Bull and Coca-Cola saw an extra 120.1 million packs go through tills this year

Caffeine-addicted Brits have turned in droves to soft drinks for a buzz – spending an extra £255.6m on Monster, Red Bull and Coca-Cola over the past 12 months.

The brands have made the biggest gains by absolute terms in The Grocer’s Britain’s Biggest Brands 2022 report. Monster is up £101.3m, Red Bull has added £81m and Coke is up £73.2m [NielsenIQ 52 w/e 1 January 2022]. Between them, the three powerhouses saw an extra 120.1 million packs go through tills.

Monster distributor Coca-Cola Europacific Partners put down the brand’s success to a steady pipeline of innovation, such as Mule. Added in January 2021, the ginger-flavoured variant was followed in April by the citrus Nitro. The duo were Monster’s biggest launches of the year, raking in £4.5m and £4.7m respectively.

Monster also capitalised on the growth in at-home drinking occasions by rolling out established lines in four-packs.

Similarly, its closest rival in energy drinks, Red Bull, benefited from demand for bigger packs. “Multipacks and larger formats have become the perfect in-home solution for soft drink consumption,” the brand said. Its big formats were “now worth over £200m”.

Coca-Cola, meanwhile, was buoyed by the revamp of its Zero Sugar range, to make it look and taste more like full-sugar Coke. It was “well received” by Brits, said CCEP, with Zero Sugar growing value by 16%.

Growth has been “largely influenced” by the return of impulse and on-the-go, said Jen Purchase, NielsenIQ senior analytics executive. “Within impulse, soft drinks is the fastest-growing category.” Plus, sports & energy drinks had seen a “greater price per litre increase than any other sector in soft drinks, which also helped drive sales” she added.

Virtue Drinks founder Rahi Daneshmand noted: “Energy drinks are growing significantly and at one of the fastest rates in soft drinks. Post lockdowns with impulse booming, plus consumer behaviour demanding more functionality and in particular energy, the category has positively seen this in sales.”

However, Elliot Wilson, strategy director at drinks specialist The Cabinet, pointed to “knackered” Brits stocking up on “small luxuries” in case of further lockdowns. The preference for online shopping allowed them to more easily buy large packs, he added.


This article is part of our Britain’s Biggest Brands special. Click here for the main feature, the top 100 brands, who’s up and who’s down and the contenders