Healthier options driving soft drink sales

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 23rd July 2008

Despite the wettest summer since records began in 1914, UK soft drinks consumption dipped by less than 1% in 2007 to 14,215 million litres, achieving a retail value of £12,940 million, according to the latest UK soft drinks report from leading drinks consultancy group Zenith International.

The fall was due in no part to ‘health drinks’, which managed to gain ground on other sectors within the sector despite the overall fall in sales. “Health, wellbeing, functionality and convenience have been the key factors shaping the UK soft drinks market,” commented Zenith Market Intelligence Director Gary Roethenbaugh. “Premium health and wellness drinks led the way. Chilled juice, smoothies, still juice drinks, energy and sports drinks witnessed the highest growth last year.”

Carbonates continued to claim the largest share of the market, accounting for 42% of 2007 consumption. Dilutables in ready to drink form held on to their previous 24% share, followed by bottled water on 15%, fruit juice/nectars on 11% and still drinks with the remaining 8%.

Based on the research, conducted in conjunction with the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), other findings of the 2008 Zenith Report on UK Soft Drinks included:

* Growing price pressures as well as poor weather stifled new product developments, which declined from over 200 in 2006 to 125 recorded in 2007.
* Consumer interest in health, wellbeing and naturalness benefited the smoothie and not from concentrate juice categories, whose volumes rose 44% and 5% respectively in 2007.
* Low calorie, no added sugar and mid-calorie drinks increased their share of the market to more than 75%.
* Sustained price promotions and growing appreciation of the ‘5-a-day’ message helped chilled juices reach 53% of the juice/nectars category.
* The top five UK soft drinks companies all improved their market shares in 2007, accounting for a combined 53% of total volume.

By 2012, Zenith anticipates that total soft drinks consumption will exceed 15,000 million litres and 249 litres per person. The growth is expected to be stimulated by pure juice, still juice and bottled water beverages.