Sprite Cucumber, Schweppes Pomegranate, Coca-Cola Lime: New flavors boost sparkling category, says Coca-Cola HBC

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/blakleypb
Pic:getty/blakleypb

Related tags: Coca-cola

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (HBC) says the evolution of new variants and flavors are helping boost the sparkling beverage category, with consumers showing particular interest in light and adult varieties.

Recent sparkling introductions have included Coca-Cola Lime, Coca-Cola Zero Lemon, Sprite Cucumber, Schweppes Pomegranate and eight Fanta flavors.

Light versions are also attracting consumers, with Coke Zero up 22%.

Releasing its results for the year ending December 31, 2017 this morning, Coca-Cola HBC said: “As a result of our efforts, sparkling beverages volumes increased by 2.3% in the year, faster than the 1.2% growth rate we saw in 2016.

“Within the sparkling category and overall for the Group, trademark Coca-Cola increased by 2.7%, with a 22% increase in Coke Zero. We also saw 5% uplift in Schweppes and 3% in Fanta.”

Coca-Cola HBC says it sees opportunity to further grow sparkling soft drinks consumption.

Sparkling beverages up in emerging and developing markets: but down in established ones

Coca-Cola HBC covers a diverse range of markets primarily but not exclusively in eastern Europe: categorised as ‘established’ (including Ireland, Austria, Cyprus and Switzerland); ‘developing’ (including Croatia, Estonia, Poland and Slovenia) and ‘emerging’ (including Armenia, Belarus, Montenegro, Nigeria, Romania, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine).

With the exception of Nigeria, all its developing and emerging markets saw volume growth in sparkling.

In established markets, however, sparking drinks were in decline. Coca-Cola, however, says additional innovations in light alternatives and drinks that appeal to adults will help tackle declines: for example, while regular coke declined, Coca-Cola Zero was up 14%.  

“In the Established markets, we are putting extra effort behind Lights and Adult drinks. Therefore seeing Coca-Cola Zero up by 14% and Schweppes up by 10% in this segment is very encouraging. Having said that, the decline in Regular Coke is holding Sparkling volumes back in the Established segment.”    

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola sees an opportunity to capitalize on meals and social occasions for sparkling drinks to grow value in the category.

RTD tea: Fuze tea to the rescue

Despite being a hot category in Asia and North America, RTD Tea remained weak for Coca-Cola HBC with a decline of 7%.

Coca-Cola says this year's launch of FUZE tea (released in January) – a fusion of  tea, fruit juice and a touch of herbs - across all of its markets except Nigeria will regenerate enthusiasm in the category.

“The early indications from the markets are very good, and we believe that the new launch will revitalise the category in the coming years,”​ it says.

Coca-Cola HBC did, however, see RTD tea volume growth in the countries where it retains the Nestea brand (Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria)

Meanwhile, the energy category saw strong volume growth above 20%, supported by Monster, which increased volumes by 48.3% including the launch in Nigeria.

For the year ending December 31, 2017, Coca-Cola HBC saw overall volumes up 2.2% with net sales revenue up 4.9%.

Coca-Cola HBC is a bottler for The Coca-Cola Company with an annual sales volume of more than 2 billion unit cases. It covers 28 countries serving approximately 595 million people. Coca-Cola HBC offers a range of primarily non-alcoholic ready to drink beverages in the sparkling, juice, water, sport, energy, tea and coffee categories.

Related topics: Tea and Coffee, Soft Drinks & Water

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