Brits' healthy drink demand defies weather

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Soft drink, Coca-cola, Zenith

Britain's wettest summer on record failed to quench UK soft drink demand as consumption remained virtually unchanged in 2007 amidst growing demand for health and functional products, says consumer analyst Zenith International.

During the entire year, the poor seasonal weather resulted in a less than one per cent drop in total sales volumes to 14.2bn litres, with per capita volume falling to 234 litres over the twelve-month period, the analyst said.

Gary Roethenbaugh, a market intelligence director for Zenith, said that a continued drive for health, wellbeing, functionality and convenience had proved to be major growth drivers for the industry at a general time of difficulty and would continue to be so.

"Premium health and wellness drinks led the way,"​ he stated. "Chilled juice, smoothies, still juice drinks, energy and sports drinks witnessed the highest growth last year."

Future growth

Under these conditions, Zenith said that by 2012, it expected total soft drink consumption in the country to exceed 15bn litres amounting to 249 litres of the beverage per person.

Fruit juice-based products and bottled waters are expected to grow above average rates in particular, the analyst added.

As part of the findings, Zenith said that carbonated beverages still dominated sales within the country, accounting for 42 per cent of all soft drinks sold.

Dilutable products like cordials were the next most popular product holding a 24 per cent market share of the market.

Bottled water, fruit juices and still drinks held 15, 11 and 8 per cent of the market respectively.

While sales were only marginally affected by the weather, Zenith claimed that heavy rainfall had proved detrimental to industry innovation, with new product development falling in 2007 to just 125 drinks as opposed to 200 in 2006.

Nonetheless, the five leading soft drinks groups currently operating within the country all posted improved market shares over the year holding a 53 per cent combined stake in total volume terms, Zenith said.

The analyst added that low calorie, no added sugar and even mid-calorie drinks benefited from the health drive, representing 75 per cent of all soft drink sales in the country.

Growing consumer interest in more health focused and non-carbonated brands are increasingly being felt not just in the uk, but around the world.

The big two

Earlier this week, the Coca-Cola Company announced that half years sales were up by 19 per cent to $16.4bn as a focus on cost saving and non-carbonated beverages helped push global volumes.

Rival PepsiCo said that it had also been encouraged by the performance of its non-carbonated beverages in markets like Latin America, which posted double digit growth for the products.

Related topics: Ingredients

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