Innovative new research reveals a simple shelf change to transform soft drinks sales – Retail Times


Soda Folk’s study shows retailers how a ‘Craft Bay’ taps into changing shopper needs

With the craft soda market forecast to reach £578 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4.99% during 2020-2025, British stores that fail to create dedicated craft displays could miss out on a significant opportunity to grow.  In the first study of its kind, “The Craft Bay”, soft drink challenger Soda Folk and retail insight innovator Virtual Store Trials (VST) reveal the impact of outdated displays on craft sales. 

More than 1,000 virtual shoppers were shown two 13-bay supermarket soft drink aisles. One of those bays was as-is, in-store today, that is blocked by the traditional, bigger players, and the other is a changed, dedicated “Craft Bay” displaying a mixture of formats but centered around taste.  The differences are staggering, with smarter shelf displays set to dramatically increase sales for those who roll them out. 

Grow category spend

Updating a bay to a new, dedicated craft one grows category spend by more than 5%, driven by shoppers buying more units. The Craft Bay itself grew sales by more than 15% to be worth greater than 10% of sales from the entire fixture (one bay from a 13 bay fixture). 

Perceived as better value for money

With consumer concerns about inflation intensifying, retailers will welcome news that shoppers found the test fixture (with the Craft Bay) offered better value for money than the existing one, despite Soda Folk being premium priced. So being perceived as offering better value for the consumer – along with the improved shopping basket costs and sales uplift – creates a real win-win for shopper and retailer alike. 

Appeal to shoppers seeking “new”

18% of shoppers are looking to try new products. Meeting this need with a Craft Bay provides incremental spend to the category, with most gains coming from challenger brands like Soda Folk, while spend on the rest of the fixture remains flat. So a revamped bay also helps to unlock new sales. Additionally, shoppers also engaged more with the fixture, taking extra time to conduct their shop, and they found the test easier to navigate, suggesting these changes create a better store experience overall.

Simon Waterfall, MD of Soda Folk, said: “Tastes are changing and craft soda’s fast rise is thanks to mounting health concerns and the growing willingness of young adults for authentic, interesting beverages. Displaying great tasting, fast growing, on-trend challenger brands like Soda Folk among increasingly old-fashioned 20th century soft drinks does nothing for the fixture. So the research is clear: build a Craft Bay, and increase sales as well as improve the shopper experience. This ‘blocking’ approach has been the key driver of success for craft beers, so retailers should replicate it for craft soft drinks and alcohol alternatives.”

Nick Theodore, founder and CEO of VST, said: “With consumer spending squeezed, this research couldn’t come at a better time for retailers. It shows them how to leverage the Craft Bay opportunity with challenger brands like Soda Folk in order to improve their sales and the shopper experience. 

We’ve found this type of recommendation to be implemented ‘live’ in store in a matter of weeks, so now it’s about retailers acting on it and tapping fully into the Craft Bay opportunity.” 





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Soda Folk’s study shows retailers how a ‘Craft Bay’ taps into changing shopper needs With the craft soda market forecast to reach £578 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4.99% during 2020-2025, British stores that fail to create dedicated craft displays could miss out on a significant opportunity to grow.  In the first…