Consumers looking for healthier soft drink options

by Staff
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LONDON — Datamonitor has found that consumers are drinking soft drinks on more occasions, but consumers also are looking for healthier options.

"Greater consumer knowledge on the importance of hydration, maintaining a healthy diet and an awareness of nutritional needs, together with a growth in skepticism toward sugared carbonates are all contributing to a dynamic soft drink market," said Matthew Jones, consumer market analyst and author of the study.

Consumers in the United Kingdom had 2.3 soft drink occasions per person per day in 2006, and Datamonitor projected the number to grow to 2.9 occasions by 2011 — more rapid growth than for Europe as a whole and the United States.

In the United Kingdom, carbonate consumption is expected to decline as a proportion of total soft drink consumption to 50% by 2011 from 61% in 2006. At the same time, juices will grow to 22% from 16% and bottled water will grow to 24% from 19%. In Europe and the United States as a whole, carbonates will decline to 45% of overall soft drink consumption in 2011 from 50% in 2006.

Datamonitor also predicted consumption of tea as a proportion of hot beverages in the United Kingdom will decline to 62% from 64%, with consumers switching to coffee. Tea consumption in the United States is expected to grow as marketing has linked tea with its antioxidant content.

"The competition for share of throat is intensifying, and it is important for drink marketers to look beyond rival brands and look at drinks at the category level," Mr. Jones said. "Conflicting consumer demands mean that it is imperative for marketers to target specific hot and soft drink occasions in order to grow consumption. Due to legislation preventing sugared carbonates in schools in the U.S. and Europe, developing products that incorporate healthy ingredients and lower sugar levels will be essential to maintaining market share."

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