Coca-Cola ups healthy soft drink push in Europe

By Chris Mercer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Soft drink, United kingdom

Coca-Cola has launched Powerade Aqua+ in the UK, aiming to grab
more of the blossoming healthy drinks market as part of a new push
on non-carbonated drinks in Europe.

Coca-Cola Great Britain said the new drink was aimed predominantly at women who exercise regularly and helped to re-hydrate the body quickly after physical exertions.

It said Powerade Aqua+ contained natural fruit flavourings with small amounts of sodium, fructose and glucose and no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.

The move highlights Coke's continued push into consumer health trends by focusing on non-carbonated drinks. The group said the launch followed extensive consumer research in the UK.

Britain's market for energy drinks is booming at the moment, accounting for £1 in every £5 spent on soft drinks, according to market researchers Mintel​. Sales are expected to exceed £1bn this year, having increased by more than 70 per cent since 2000.

The success of energy drinks has followed a similar pattern to juice and bottled water in the UK; a trend Coke would like to get more involved in.

"Non-carbonated beverages only represent 10 per cent of our European sales,"​ said Dominique Reiniche, president of Coca-Cola's European Union division, at the group's third quarter results conference.

"Not surprisingly our strategy clearly focuses on accelerating and the broadening of our non-carbonated portfolio by expanding the reach of our global brands, like Powerade, Aquarius and Minute Maid."

Reiniche highlighted good growth from the Aquarius brand in Spain. "This is a good illustration of a sports-oriented drink being transformed into a mainstream, lifestyle beverage.

"Despite this we still acknowledge that our non-carbonated beverage presence is not yet satisfactory,"​ she said, adding that Coke was looking to make more small-scale acquisitions in the region.

Coke's new UK launch came as the Powerade sports drink brand made itself the star performer of the group's third quarter 2005, increasing sales by 28 per cent and helping the group to a resurgent eight per cent sales rise for the first nine months of the year.

The Powerade surge was accompanied by a 14 per cent sales rise for juice brand Minute Maid and a 37 per cent rise in global volumes for water brand Dasani.

Related topics: Carlsberg, R&D

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