Beverage market analyst Zenith International says that consumption volumes in the region for the segment rose 9.5 per cent to 5.6bn litres in 2007, after having nearly doubled over the last five years.
Gary Roethenbaugh, market intelligence director for Zenith, said that growing consumer interest within the region for products linked to health and wellbeing benefits and more intensive marketing were behind the growth.
“A desire for healthier lifestyles was the key factor,” he stated. “Consumers particularly embraced new flavour formulations, premium product offerings and juices enhanced with vitamins and minerals.”
Zenith said that under the current market conditions, it expected consumption of fruit juices and nectars within Eastern Europe to rise to 8.5bn litres by 2013, amounting to €10bn in value.
The growth was driven in particular by markets such as Russia, Poland and Ukraine, which alone represented 81 per cent of total volume deamnd in the region, according to the analyst.
Juices enriched with multivitamin helped push demand across the region holding a market share of over 25 per cent in the region. Chilled juices were another segment found by the analyst to have performed well, particularly in the markets of Poland, Bulgaria and Estonia.
Aside from the actual growth of juice brands and products, Zenith said that market consolidation from both regional players and multinationals was also a major development in the region in recent years.
Over the last twelve months, leading soft drink makers like Pepsi and Coca-Cola and even private investment firms have all moved to take a share of the region’s fruit juice market.
Last August, Lion Capital, a private investment group that counts Kettle Foods and Weetabix cereal among its brands, said it planned to acquire Russia-based juice maker Nidan. The company said that acquiring one of the country’s top three juice manufacturers would allow it to claim an instant foothold in burgeoning regional production.
In the two months previous to Lion Capital’s move,Coca-Cola Hellenic and PepsiCo had announced similar purchases in Russia and Ukraine respectively.