‘Wholesale is of critical importance’ – Ian Patefield of Britvic

Ian Patefield (pictured), the newly appointed GB wholesale director at Britvic, talks about the company’s new division covering convenience, catering and licensed trade.

What proportion of your business goes through the cash & carry/delivered wholesale trade?

The cash & carry/delivered wholesale trade is of critical importance to Britvic, and over the past few years its importance has grown to the point where we have a specialist division covering convenience, catering and licensed trade. This is the division I now head up. My team is able to support customers with a broad portfolio of branded soft drinks that meet the needs of their customers in any outlet type, supported by best-in-class category management and shopper marketing to maximise this opportunity at depot level.

How are you looking to develop your business through the cash & carry/ delivered wholesale trade?

We have a strong heritage in retail, foodservice and the on-trade, with a range solution for each of the channels. Our focus is on helping customers deliver sales through the core best-sellers and adding NPD that’s relevant and exciting for their audiences.

Within the convenience and impulse channel, we’ve placed the emphasis on driving both on-the-go opportunities and top-up drinks. Health is also growing in importance and we have solutions that offer healthier drinks as part of a balanced range. We’ve been reducing sugar in our products since 2013 and it places Britvic in the prime position to help retailers by being able to supply a full range of low and no-sugar drinks across all categories. We have a great range of self-executing promotional price-marked packs, giving retailers the chance to offer a strong and credible consumer value message that drives rate of sale and pull-through at depot.

Having consumer favourites in the right format is absolutely key to our foodservice customers and we have a range of bottled, dispense and bulk pack solutions to make soft drinks decisions easy and convenient.

Finally, the on-trade is the heartland for our range of mixers, juices and premium adult soft drinks such as J2O. To capitalise on the premium opportunity, we’ve launched brands like Thomas & Evans and London Essence Co. from our incubator company WiseHead Productions, and we’re constantly working with operators to improve serve and create interesting flavour options in line with changing consumer tastes.

Do you find that C&Cs/delivered wholesalers act effectively on the latest trends in soft drinks?

Absolutely – both cash & carries and wholesalers are responsive to the latest trends as they strive to meet the needs of their customers, who are equally savvy at giving their shoppers what they want.

Ranging is critical. Striking a balance between standard ranges and price-marked packs, PET and cans in cash & carries, for instance, is only one part of the equation. Adding flavour variants and low and no-sugar options into the mix instantly complicates the ranging decision.

That’s where we’re able to add the most value – we have in-depth knowledge of the latest emerging consumer trends and, because of the breadth of our portfolio, we’re able to make balanced recommendations in terms of mixing ‘sure bets’ with newer categories like natural energy.

How can cash & carries improve their sales of soft drinks?

These are our five top tips for cash & carries looking to make the most of the soft drinks category:

• Remember the 80:20 principal: 80% of sales come from the top 20 selling products in the category. Make the top sellers easily identifiable and accessible. Our team has access to the latest data and can advise on the top products to include in your range.

• Stock the right range: To help retailers provide their shoppers with immediate refreshment, it is important to stock a broad range of branded soft drinks from both established segments and emerging categories, including water and ‘water plus’ brands like Robinsons Refresh’d and Drench.

• Great merchandising: Retailers can often be in a hurry as they pop in to pick up bits and pieces throughout the day, so grouping sub-categories together makes it easier to find what they are looking for. We recommend segmenting your soft drinks offering into four areas: carbonates, stills, energy & vitality and water & ‘water plus’.

• Highlight NPD: Make sure new soft drinks stand out in your aisle and add point-of-sale material around the depot to point customers in the direction of the latest additions.

• Be visible: Make sure soft drinks are in a prominent location in depot, doubly so when the sun shines! Leading brands should always have sufficient space in fixture to help customers who are looking for their specific favourites find what they are looking for.

Similarly, what more can delivered wholesalers do to increase their sales of soft drinks?

The ability to order remotely and have products delivered can be a huge draw for savvy retailers and operators, so it’s key to educate customers and highlight the benefits of the delivered wholesale and click-and-collect approach if you want to drive sales. With greater flexibility and the increased accuracy of product purchase history in addition to offering logistical solutions to the door of time-poor customers, delivered wholesalers need to shout about the factors that set them apart.

Can you outline any initiatives with C&C/wholesalers that have led to a significant improvement in the sales/profits of your products?

There are a number of initiatives we’ve introduced to support wholesaler and cash & carry customers. From mix-and-match deals to exclusive PMPs, we want to give shoppers the flexibility they’re demanding, while helping wholesalers to maximise sales.

Our Robinsons Fruit Creations brand is a great example with the £1.99 PMPs helping retailers drive value into the category at a time when adult soft drinks and the squash sector are performing well.

Our ‘2 for £1’ portfolio 330ml can PMP promotion on Pepsi, 7Up and Tango has also delivered phenomenal success for retailers, increasing total value sales by 80% (IRI).

How important is NPD in the soft drinks market and what approach should wholesalers take to NPD?

NPD is crucial in keeping customers coming back time and time again. It adds excitement to the category for end-shoppers and it’s therefore important that cash & carry/delivered wholesalers highlight it to customers through all the communications channels available to them, whether sales brochures, telesales teams or utilising additional point-of-sale material in depot.

Be careful about the NPD you choose to stock – ensure that you strike a balance between NPD from well-established, trusted consumer brands and start-up brands. Also, consider placing new products alongside established ones within the same category to maximise visibility in cash & carry depots. This gives retailers a quick way to add a fresh new addition to their product range while stocking up on tried and tested customer favourites.

Can you share any news relating to product developments?

A new Wimbledon on-pack promotion will support the Robinsons Refresh’d range this summer, and celebrating the brand’s 84-year association with Wimbledon, a £3 million campaign on Robinsons will run over the summer months on TV, radio and social media, as well as in-store.

A raspberry flavour recently joined the Pepsi Max line-up, while Tango has new sugar-free flavours, a packaging redesign and a £1.2 million marketing investment. For 7UP, pop culture icon Fido Dido appears on the 7UP Free limited-edition packs, bringing shoppers into the category as part of the brand’s ‘Feels Good to Be Free’ campaign.

Is there anything else our readers should know about Britvic’s operation or strategy?

The future is bright when it comes to soft drinks sales in wholesale and cash & carry depots, with 35% of retailers expecting sales of soft drinks to grow (HIM!), which is great news for the category. My team and I will be working closely with cash & carries and the wider wholesale channel to keep them ahead of the curve on key trends, as well as sharing fantastic NPD in coming months and providing best practice to deliver strong sales.

 Tel: Britvic Soft Drinks (0345) 758 1781


Published Date: June 25, 2019
Category: Meet the Manufacturer