Five ways to increase afternoon snacks and drinks sales

Afternoon snacking is on the rise, here's how to make the most of this key opportunity.

Reading time: 5 minutes

Food-to-go sales are soaring in UK convenience retail. And not just at key mealtimes – here at Britvic we’ve identified afternoon snacking as a key opportunity for our retail partners. So how can retailers make the most of the opportunity?

All shoppers, whether they know it or not, are on a mission. For retailers, it pays to get to grips with why people visit their stores at different times of the day and tailor their ranges, promotions and merchandising accordingly.  

One mission grew more than any other in 2022. More shoppers visited stores to grab a quick bite or drink to enjoy on-the-go, with food-to-go missions accounting for 14.9% of all store visits, up from 13% in the previous year (2023 Britvic Soft Drinks Review).[1]

But food, whether it’s a quick snack to keep hunger pangs at bay or a post-workout protein bar, isn’t the most purchased product in such missions. That title goes to soft drinks, which featured in 48% of all on-the-go occasions in 2022, up from 44% in 2021.  

People don’t only buy drinks to accompany grab-and-go main meals – increasingly, they’re buying them to wash down snacks. Soft drinks consumption with afternoon snacks grew by 11.8% last year, and there’s huge potential to encourage further growth. Here’s our five-point plan for doing just that.


[1] All statistics cited in this article are from the 2023 Britvic Soft Drinks Review, unless otherwise stated.

Create hunger-busting opportunities

We’ve all felt it: that mid-afternoon lull when lunch seems like an age ago and dinner is still way off in the distance. Witness, the mid-afternoon snack mission, when shoppers want to quickly grab something to keep hunger at bay until the end of the working day. 

Preparing for this grab-and-go mission with promotions and well-conceived in-store signage can help retailers make the most of this opportunity. We’re here to help.

Cater for shoppers on a health kick

There’s nothing like a gym-session to work up a hunger, or thirst. And no one wants to undo their hard work at the gym by eating and drinking unhealthily afterwards. Helping shoppers reward themselves with healthy food and drinks can help deliver a healthy sales boost too.  

Our Workout-Ready promotional concept pairs Purdey’s Natural Energy drinks with health-orientated snacks such as Kind Protein Bars and Quaker Oats-So-Simple Pouches in attractive link deals. Alternatively, try pairing Aqua Libra seltzers with fresh fruit or cereal bars to encourage health-conscious consumers to splash out.

Give health a well-positioned home in store

Free-standing display units and other secondary displays can play a key role in driving sales of food and drink bought to be consumed on the hoof. Food-to-go sales over-index on products picked from in-store displays by 14%. Often more indulgent products take precedent in such displays.

Retailers can cash in on growing demand for healthier food and drink, particularly from shoppers looking for guilt-free products in the afternoon, by positioning healthier offerings more prominently in store. Grouping wellness products together in store and ensuring the fixture is well signposted boosts sales by an average of 10%.

Energise your shoppers

Other statistics worth considering are these: one in eight UK adults feels tired all the time; one in four feels tired most of the time and two in five would rather sleep than spend time with their family. Tiredness often strikes in the afternoon, making this a key time to promote energy drinks.

Placing energy drinks – such as Rockstar Energy’s low-sugar, HFSS-compliant range as well as the Purdey’s Natural Energy trio – front and centre in chillers, and pairing them with snacks in mid-afternoon promotions can help give your shoppers the kick they need to get them through the day and liven up your takings.

Tap the dinner for tonight occasion

However, it’s important to note that not all afternoon shoppers are looking for items that offer immediate refreshment. Meal for tonight missions accounted for 6.7% of all convenience store visits in 2022 and, with more people trying to drink less alcohol, positioning soft drinks as accompaniments to evening meals can pay off.

For more inspiration on how to maximise your soft drinks sales in the afternoon and throughout the day read the 2023 Britvic Soft Drinks Review here.

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