Adult tastes in soft drinks have become more sophisticated, with bottles and label designs that make them a socially acceptable - even desirable - alternative to alcohol. Recent new product evaluations, both through Fast Foodfax® and for the Grocer Own Label Excellence Awards, have demonstrated the growing appeal of more complex tastes that blend fruits and herbs with a light fizz to add excitement to the mouthfeel. Retailer own-label has proved as adept as brands in meeting changing consumer needs, leveraging the power of sub-brands to provide highly acceptable drinks capable of supporting premium prices. Their use of unusual fruits together with spring water reinforces wider better-for-you appeal without any loss of the image values associated with a successful brand. Feedback suggests market development could be aided by more effective merchandising in the existing fixture or alongside alcoholic alternatives to prompt more frequent purchase.

Asda Sparkling Muscat SCORE: 44 AVERAGE: 31

This "looks like the real thing" but was alcohol-free, earning this adult soft drink a top-quartile rating. It is ideal for special occasions and even for the children.

Sainsbury's apple & damson pressé SCORE: 38 AVERAGE: 31

This "natural" and refreshing adult soft drink lived up to its Taste the Difference branding. A refreshing alternative to wine when entertaining.

Amé elderberry & lemon SCORE: 36 AVERAGE: 31

What sounded a promising fruit blend proved to be polarising when tried. Too strong a lemon content unbalanced the flavour and reduced purchase interest.