The 2003 UK Soft Drinks Report from drinks consultancy Zenith International reveals that the UK soft drinks industry is in fine shape. Consumption rose by over 5 per cent in 2002 to 13.1 billion litres, translating into a retail value of £10.2 billion.
Carbonates are the largest and most widely consumed group of soft drinks. The launch of brand extensions such as Diet Coke with Lemon, Fanta Fruit Twist and Pepsi Twist provided a major boost to last year's growth.
"Innovation is key to sustaining interest in soft drinks and stimulating demand," said Zenith research director Gary Roethenbaugh. "This has been taken up by the major carbonated soft drinks manufacturers as they struggle to match the rise of bottled water and still drinks."
Indeed, the still drinks market achieved the highest percentage growth in 2002, aided by the success of Robinsons Fruit Shoot and the relaunch of Powerade. Bottled water once again had a strong year, as more consumers turn to healthier lifestyles.
Dilutable squashes and cordials also performed well. Fruit juice was the only category that Failed to achieve gains in 2002 after strong growth in the previous three years.
"Consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, searching for products that meet their own particular needs above and beyond simply quenching their thirst," said Roethenbaugh. "Health benefits, functionality and uniqueness are all attributes that consumers are beginning to search for in their soft drink purchases."
Zenith expects the UK soft drinks industry to see a steady advance in consumption during the next five years, climbing at an annual rate of 4 per cent to 15.7 billion litres by 2007.
"The soft drinks industry and what it offers to the consumer are definitely changing. No longer simply directed at children, soft drinks are playing an increasingly important and responsive role in our daily lives," said Roethenbaugh.