The global carbonates category is predicted to hit 179.4bn litres in 2019, up from 166.2bn in 2014 (and 157.4 bn in 2009).
The cola carbonates category retains over half the sector: expected to reach 97.6bn litres in 2019 (up from 91.8bn litres in 2014).
But non-cola carbonates are also expected to see growth, particularly in emerging markets, according to Euromonitor Passport figures. The category is expected to reach 81.8bn litres, up from 74.4bn in 2014.
Hope Lee, beverages analyst, Euromonitor International, told BeverageDaily.com cola carbonates as a category face challenges – although brand Coca-Cola remains strong.
“Some non-cola carbonates - brands like Fanta - may see good growth, especially in some emerging markets,” she said.
“Cola carbonates have an ‘unhealthy image’ in the minds of some consumers. Some diet brands like Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero are not well received because of the taste in many developing markets. Consumers are looking for the original taste of the cola.
“Cola carbonates will face the most challenges,” continued Lee. “However, the brand classic Coca-Cola remains strong among other brands in the same category. Listing Coca-Cola is still a factor to attract consumers to the shop.”
Low calorie challenges
In the US market, Euromonitor reports low calorie carbonates have seen consumers migrate away from the category, including those who want to avoid artificial sweeteners. Instead, these consumers are more interested in premium carbonates that use cane sugar, and minimise the use of artificial ingredients.
Although cola carbonates may be perceived as having an unhealthy image, consumers do not necessarily expect alternative carbonates to be a healthy option, Lee added.
“If they look for healthy options, they may switch to juice or water but not ‘healthy carbonates,’” she said. “In their mind carbonates are for refreshment, not for health.”
However, sugar is still a concern. Big players have been introducing stevia – but the success of these brands is still a case of ‘wait and see,’ says Lee. Water looks like a challenging competitor to the market, she added.
“People who don’t like sugar may well choose plain bottled water,” said Lee. “The share of throat is increasingly diversified and complex. So, it’s a challenge for all marketers to adapt to. Business is certainly not as easy as 10 years ago.”