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Current cocktail trends are crippling the RTD market in the UK

Published:  19 July, 2016

According to William Grant & Sons 2016 Market Report figures, ready-to-drink (RTDs) beverages may be falling out of favour with consumers.

Both total volume and value for the RTD category have decreased in both the on and off-trade across the UK over the past 12 months. RTDs were the largest loser of value in off-trade for the beer, wine and spirits categories dropping -6.2% to £226 million. Volume dropped -6.3% to 46 million litres over the same time period.

In the on-trade for BWS, total RTDs dropped in value -13.8% to £226 million, with volume declining -15.5% to 24 million litres.

According to market research firm Euromonitor International, the explosion of the cocktail culture in the UK is in part to blame as is the maturity of the market.

"The majority of the established brands in RTDs/high-strength premixes in the UK have mature sales which is negatively affecting the performance of the category. Furthermore, the decline is also underpinned by the growing consumer preference for freshly-made cocktails both in the on-trade and the off-trade," according to RTDs/High-Strength Premixes in the United Kingdom report published by Euromonitor last month.

Further the category is expected to continue to decline over the next couple of years. The report said: "RTDs/high-strength premixes is expected to decline at a total volume of 3% (CAGR) over the forecast period to reach 106 million litres by 2020. This is based on the established brands continuing their decline."

The convenience RTDs offer, as well as the variety of drinks and innovative packaging are critical elements to help support the category and brands in the future. "The convenience these products offer remains their key selling point and the reason behind increasing consumer awareness and high number of new product developments. At the same time innovations in packaging provided the best performing brands in 2015," according to the Euromonitor report.