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UK's soft drinks consumption rises in 2007

13 May 2008 by

The soft drinks industry has showed its ability to adapt and innovate in an ever changing climate, says the British Soft Drinks Association in its 2008 report.

Although last year was the wettest summer on record, and the usual summer surge simply did not happen, the nation's soft drinks consumption was still rated at about 234 litres per person.

The two categories to grow were still juice drinks and 100% fruit juice, although orange juice, historically the UK's core flavour, saw its share decrease. This is thought to reflect the public's interest in exploring new flavours.

The smoothies sector grew by a quite remarkable 44%, and this is seen as coming from the public's interest in "naturalness", and in drinks with perceived functional benefits. Innovation in the carbonates sector also focused significantly on providing products with added benefits such as energy and vitamin boosts.

Sports drinks providing hydration and replenishment for active lifestyles and energy drinks delivering a caffeine or natural energy boost, rose by 12%.

Curiously, bottled water experienced a surge of 55 million units in the summer of 2007, but still did not record any increase in the value of the market - this was the amount of bottled water donated to those in need during the floods.

Carbonated drinks did not do well. These remain the nation's favourite, at 41.5% of the soft drinks market, but dropped by 1% in sales. Diet carbonated drinks, however, grew to reach a third of the total carbonated market.

Cola remains the favourite carbonated drink, with just over half of the market, but other flavoured carbonated drinks declined, as did fizzy flavoured water.

Dilutables, following a good year in 2006, held their position as the second-favourite soft drink, with 23.6% of the market.

Sales of 100% fruit juice rose by 1.8%, with chilled fruit juices now accounting for over half the market, and "not from concentrate" juices continuing to build.

Sports and energy drinks showed a notable growth of 12%, with the BSDA noting that the product sector is now mainstream, and no longer appeals only to athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

The overall trend, said the BSDA's director-general Jill Ardagh, is based on a public perception of health diet and active lifestyle.

"Soft drinks manufacturers responded to the public's growing awareness of the need to maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Drinks providing natural refreshment alongside those offering functional benefits were especially popular and health and wellbeing should continue to drive growth in the UK soft drinks industry.

"Sixty-one per cent of soft drinks are now low-calorie or no-added-sugar, and this trend is set to continue."

The BSDA recorded eighty new products launched in the health and well-being sector last year.

A Changing Climate - the 2008 Soft Drinks Report is available from the British Soft Drinks Association. Telelephone: 020 7430 0356

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