Bottled water GettyImages-1134447571

Squash sales have been squished in the past year. Just as they were lifted up by Covid – putting an end to several years of decline – so they have bumped back down to earth with the return of normality.

“Few brands are managing to achieve any growth,” notes Louise Boitoult, analytics client team leader at NielsenIQ.

Overall, the sector has shifted 47.3 million fewer litres. Fifteen of the top 20 brands are in volume decline – including Robinsons, the category’s biggest player. It’s down 7.2%, though a 5.8% rise in average price has kept value losses to 1.5%.

Brand owner Britvic is now bracing for the full impact of the cost of living crisis. “With increasing numbers being mindful of the amount they spend, pressured shoppers are expected to move toward smaller transactions and smaller pack sizes,” says GB retail commercial director Ben Parker.

“At the same time, we’re also seeing a ‘lipstick effect’, whereby shoppers are switching from expensive purchases to treating themselves with smaller treat indulgences.”

To that final point, Robinsons earlier this year expanded its Fruit Creations lineup with the launch of a Zingy Lemon & Raspberry variant, designed to lure shoppers looking for an affordable treat.

Similarly, a range expansion has been instrumental in the success of Capri-Sun, which entered the squash sector in March 2021. This year’s addition of Summer Fruits and Tropical variants broadened the brand’s appeal and helped drive its 92.1% value gain to £3.9m, says owner CCEP.

While the squash and cordial sector is home to a hodgepodge of brand performances, bottled water is pretty straightforward.

The revival of on-the-go sales has helped grow the market £214.1m. All but one of the top 10 brands – Pure Life – is in value growth.

Brands with “a good presence and availability in the convenience channel have enjoyed a good year, building back strong sales”, says Boitoult. “Single-serve water formats have grown almost 50% on last year.”

Success is not entirely down to impulse sales, however, insists Charlotte Andrassy, UK&I head of category development for beverages & impulse at Danone, owner of Volvic and Evian. “The rise of mindful drinking is one out-of-home trend that we are seeing affect the category, with an increasing number of consumers choosing to limit or reduce the amount of alcohol they drink,” she says.

“Brands have the opportunity to mitigate consumers’ health concerns by providing a variety of healthy – but tasty – drink options.”

It’s one trend that is certainly worth bearing in mind.

Top Launch 2022

Evian Sparkling | Danone


Evian added fizz to its portfolio in January with the rollout of its first sparkling water – posing a threat to smaller rivals with established bubbly lines. The Danone brand said its 330ml can (rsp: 79p) represented “new possibilities” for the water, which makes a “15-year natural filtration journey through the glacial rocks in the heart of the French Alps”. Evian Sparkling grew later in the year by adding a one-litre rPET bottle. The likes of Highland Spring and San Pellegrino had better watch out.

The Grocer Top Products Survey 2022: How can brands stay in focus?