The Eat Out to Help Out scheme and heatwave combined to lift sales of soft drinks and wine last week, CGA’s latest Drinks Recovery Tracker shows.
As CGA’s research into the managed sector revealed this week, the government’s scheme helped to increase food sales by a third in the week to last Saturday (8 August). With alcoholic drinks excluded from the 50% offer, the overall impact of the campaign on sales was smaller, with the average rate of sale down 25% on the same week in 2019—a modest improvement of three percentage points on the previous seven days, when sales were down 28%.
But with more people eating out, the Drinks Recovery Tracker indicates a very positive impact on the soft drinks segment. Across the week their sales were down 16% year-on-year, but that marks a halving of the deficit from 34% over the previous seven days. Soft drinks reached a peak on Wednesday (5 August), when they bettered the equivalent day in 2019 by 30%.
Eat Out to Help Out has also given the wine market a welcome lift, with their sales improving from 36% to 30% down year-on-year. Sales of beer (down 20%) and spirits (down 39%) were both static, but the hot weather had a positive impact on cider, where sales leapt to 9% up on 2019 levels on Friday (7 August).
Day-by-data confirms that the boost to sales is largely tied to the Monday-to-Wednesday duration of the offer. Total drinks sales were down by just 5% year-on-year on Wednesday—but the gap grew far wider the next day at 31%.
As well as the government’s incentive and the heatwave, the out-of-home drinking market got a lift last week with the wider reopening of licensed premises in Wales. The number of sites trading increased around the country as restaurants in particular opened up to take advantage of the scheme.
The Eat Out to Help Out project has lit a fire under food sales, and this data shows that it is giving parts of the drinks market a welcome lift too,” says Jonathan Jones, CGA’s Director of Client Services. “With the initiative gathering momentum and the temperatures running high, out-of-home drinks sales should be getting another major boost this week, though there’s a long way to go before they approach pre-pandemic levels. It’s also apparent that some consumers are adapting the days of their visits to take advantage of the 50% deal—so the next big challenge for pubs and restaurants is to persuade people to come back later in the week as well.”
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