The five fastest-growing products in their categories

1. Benson & Hedges

▲ 17.2% (+£368.1m)

Benson & Hedges

Benson & Hedges’ extra £368.1m is down in large part to duty hikes. But not entirely. With the pandemic putting the brakes on tobacco’s illicit trade and legal cross-border trade, more cigarette smokers were forced to turn to grocery. Many down-traded to the likes of B&H’s Blue variant, which is positioned in the lowest pricing tier. That helped the JTI brand grow volumes by 11.6%.

2. Monster

▲ 36.8% (+£105.9m)

Monster energy unsplash

Source: Unsplash

A stressed and sleep-deprived nation of shoppers helped Monster grow volumes by 32.4%. That’s an extra 37.5 million litres of energy drinks – almost three times the number added by closest rival (and category leader) Red Bull. A swift response to the loss of on-the-go and impulse occasions was also crucial to growth, with the brand launching a number of variants in four-packs for at-home consumption.

3. Smirnoff

Smirnoff Raspberry Crush

▲ 14.0% (+£65.1m)

The UK’s best-loved vodka is now worth more than half a billion in grocery sales: £529.6m to be precise. Flavoured variants have played a part, with Raspberry Crush added in June. The new drink landed just a couple of weeks after Smirnoff kicked off the £2m ‘Spritz Up’ campaign in partnership with posh mixer maker Fever-Tree. It’s since rolled out a Mango & Passionfruit option, too.

4. Salmon

▲ 6.6% (+£54.5m)

Salmon dish

Source: Unsplash

There’s nothing fishy about salmon’s performance. The year’s best-selling protein has racked up an extra £54.5m – and shifted 21.1 million more packs – thanks to a combination of strong supply (especially from Norway), lower prices and an increase in the number of supermarket promotions. Plus, it’s healthy, versatile and easy to cook to create an out of home-style centre, say suppliers.

5. 19 Crimes

▲ 124.6% (+£53.4m)

TWE 19 Crimes The Banished

Treasury Wine Estates has a smash hit on its hands. Its 19 Crimes brand, aimed at millennial men, has more than doubled its value in grocery to £96.2m. Its success is down to more accessible flavour profiles alongside clearer language and branding. Plus, it’s agile and always innovating. The past year has seen it add coffee-blended red The Deported move into boxed wine and even try its hand at hard seltzer.


Top 10 fastest-growing categories

1. Rolling tobacco

▲ +£790.0m


 The 6% above inflation duty rise imposed on tobacco in November 2020 drove value – as did a 21.8% rise in volumes due to the demise of the illicit tobacco trade.

2. Cigarettes

▲ +£686.2m


Source: Unsplash

 As with rolling baccy, ciggies benefited from duty rises and lack of illicit trade. Plus, travel restrictions meant Brits weren’t able to buy cheaper cigs legally overseas.

3. Spirits

▲ £393.9m

unsplash decanter spirits whisky

Source: Unsplash

Volume of hard liquor are up by 7%. That’s nearly as fast as last year thanks to Brits broadening their tastes beyond gin. Flavoured variants were key to growth.

4. Table wine

▲ +£295.1m

Red wine

Source: Unsplash

Wine continues to boom in spite of bars and eateries reopening. It’s shifted 22.3 million more litres, with innovative brands like 19 Crimes benefiting most.

5. Free-from

▲ +£212.9m

Oat milk GettyImages-1326733649

Dairy alternatives’ big players have largely driven free-from’s gains, with Oatly the star performer. It’s added £31.8m, with unit sales rocketing by 37.8%.

6. Sports & energy drinks

▲ +£205.6m

Energy drinks

Stress and exhaustion no doubt boosted sales of energy drinks. But so did the agility of brands, shifting to focus on larger formats for at-home drinking.

7. Lager

▲ +£198.9m

lager beer pint

Premium and world lagers saw the biggest value gains as 70.8 million extra litres went through tills. Cheaper brands lost out, though, meaning Fosters shed £29.7m.

8. Carbonates

▲ +£180.1m

Cola fizzy soft drink

Source: Getty

Top three brands Coke, Pepsi and Fanta all enjoyed sizeable value gains as the category was buoyed by the return of on-the-go and impulse sales. 

9. Chocolate

▲ +£147.7m

Chocolate bar

Source: Unsplash

 The revival of impulse sales, more premium options and an Easter more like normal combined to add value in spite of volumes staying more or less flat.

10. Sparkling wine

▲ +£133.6m

Champagne prosecco sparkling wine strawberry

Source: Unsplash

 With more reason to celebrate, post-lockdown shoppers put an extra 11.9 million extra litres of fizz into their baskets. That’s a 13.1% rise in volume sales.