>>A monthly look at the most promising newcomers in key grocery categories. this month: soft drinks

Vanilla Coke seems to have proved a winner among UK soft drinks newcomers, closely followed by Zesty Berry, a brand extension to Coca-Cola stablemate Fanta. However, smaller brands such as Lakeland Willow Water are also gaining ground.
Both Coca-Cola products have achieved high rates of distribution. Plastic bottles of Vanilla Coke are rolling out to 86% of all possible outlets [ACNielsen, December 27 2003], while Fanta Zesty Berry is slightly lower at 81%. Can formats of both have reached about half of all outlets to date.
The proportion of consumers trying the products is 11.5% for both brands. A third of these go back for more of the Fanta variant, while nearly 40% have bought Vanilla Coke for a second time.
Sugar free Red Bull was another notable debutante last year and has made it into 55% of possible outlets so far. Only 0.9% of ACNielsen’s consumer panel has sampled the product, but 36% of those have bought again.
Willow Water is achieving a rapid increase in distribution, with products sold in more than one fifth of possible outlets. The sample is too small to give an accurate picture of trial and repeat purchase rates, but the pattern bodes well for the brand.
Other category newcomers include Vittel Energy Plus water, and Umbro sports drink and Virgin Sour, both from Calypso.
n Product:
Vanilla Coke
n Distribution level: 86%
n Repeat purchase rate: 39%