Wealth concerns provide challenge in Euro soft drink-downturn

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soft drinks Coca-cola Soft drink Canadean

The importance of private label beverages and the impact of a consumer’s wealth on soft drink demand are key issues facing the industry in light of current concerns over future market growth, says a leading sector analyst.

James Quincey, who heads Coca-Cola’s operations in North West Europe, will address these concerns as part of his keynote speak at the International Soft Drinks Conference 2009 to be hold in Vienna, arranged in part with consultancy group Canadean.

The agenda comes amidst new research suggesting Western European growth in demand for soft drinks is increasingly running out of opportunities over the next few years, according to Canadean research.

“Taken as a whole, soft drinks markets in West Europe marked time last year, with previous growth categories such as packaged water registering a decline,”​ stated the analyst.

The group also raised concerns regarding the emerging soft drink markets of Eastern Europe, where, after nine per cent growth in volumes between 2002 and 2007, regional demand was up just by three per cent last year.

Canadean says it expects further falls during 2009, stressing that further falls in the volume output of carbonated beverages over the period reflect wider market instability.

“While some smaller categories like sports and energy drinks enjoy continued growth, even these bright spots are fading somewhat,” ​stated the analyst.

International conference

In responding to the findings, Canadean chairman, Kelsey van Musschenbroek, said the upcoming International Soft Drinks Conference taking place on the 29 May, would look to address concerns unprecedented in recent history.

“Not for a generation has there been such a need to understand the fundamental dynamics of global beverage markets,”​ stated the chairman. “So we are asking our speakers to focus on what they believe moves beverage markets in such uncertain times.”

Speakers from across the European and global soft drink business are expected to attend the one-day event, which is set to proceed the Union of European Beverages Associations (UNESDA) general assembly on 28 May.

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