Healthier options drive soft drink consumption growth

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 8th December 2008

Worldwide consumption of soft drinks rose by 3.9% in 2007 to 552 billion litres, equivalent to 82.5 litres per person, according to the new 2008 Global Soft Drinks report from drinks consultancy group Zenith International. The growth was led by still drinks, the segment embracing a consumer desire for health and wellbeing alternatives, and bottled water, reflecting its natural and calorie free hydration virtues.

Young women drinking orange juice

“Health continues as an increasingly important factor driving purchasing behaviour around the globe,” Zenith Market Intelligence Director, Gary Roethenbaugh, noted. “In 2007 bottled water beat carbonated soft drinks and became the largest market by volume. In the context of rising concerns about obesity and greater interest in health, consumers are re-evaluating their choices and turning to healthier refreshments. Still fruit, tea and sports drinks enjoyed the highest growth of all, rising by 6.4%.”

For still drinks, the fastest growing region was East Europe with a 19.8% uplift in 2007, followed by Africa on 11.1%. Not far behind, bottled water recorded 6.1% growth last year, with Africa gaining the most at 14.3%, ahead of East Europe on 10.4%. West Europe was the only region witnessing a decline in bottled water consumption, partly due to poor summer weather and heightened pressure from environmental groups.

Taking all soft drinks together, the greatest growth in 2007 came from the developing market of East Europe, achieving a 9.8% increase. Elsewhere, Africa grew by 7.1%, Asia Pacific by 6.9%, the Middle East by 6.6% and Latin America by 4.3%. In the two most mature markets of North America and West Europe, North America enjoyed slightly greater growth of 1.1%, compared to 0.1% for West Europe.

Among other notable findings from the new Zenith report are:

* With substantial volume gains, bottled water claimed an overall 37.3% share in 2007, pushing carbonates to second place on 36.8%. Still drinks came third on 12.7%, followed by fruit juice/nectars on 7.1% and dilutables on 6.1%.
* Asia Pacific had the highest regional share at 23.7%, exceeding North America on 23.6%. Asia’s influence is expected to continue growing, with volumes forecast to climb an extra 35% by 2012.
* Over the five years to 2007, the highest growth was achieved by Indonesia, with volume increasing by 117%.
* East Europe has achieved the highest growth per person, advancing by 35.6 litres since 2002.

By 2012, Zenith anticipates global soft drinks consumption will reach 675 billion litres and 95 litres per person.