US soft drink market goes flat
Industry analysts Beverage-Digest has released its annual results and for the ninth year in a row "carbonated soft drink" consumption is down and the decline is "getting steeper".It says Australia is now a test market for the new "sweeteners" in an attempt to reboot interest in soft drinks.
North America correspondent Michael Vincent reports.MICHAEL VINCENT: In the United States it's hard to believe this was the sound being heard less and less.
(Sound of a can of soft drink being opened)AMERICAN MAN: There's one.
MICHAEL VINCENT: And yet US media is full of major brands use popular musicians, songs or sports stars or all three as in this ad shot in Brazil with footballers.(Music - We can be heroes)
No matter which generation it's appealing to, American soft drink consumption is in decline and that decline is getting steeper.JOHN SICHER: Carbonated soft drinks have been in decline now for nine years.
MICHAEL VINCENT: John Sicher is the editor of Beverage-Digest.JOHN SICHER: Carbonated soft drinks were down 3 per cent which is worse than they've been in the overall beverage business was down as opposed to being moderately up in previous years.
MICHAEL VINCENT: The digest is the self-described information service for news and data on the global non-alcoholic beverage industry.John Sicher says sugarless or low sugar drinks are no longer helping the major soft drink makers stem their nine year decline.
JOHN SICHER: The diet soft drinks are declining at a steeper rate than a regular or sugared soft drinks.MICHAEL VINCENT: So if Americans aren't drinking soft drinks, some may just be choosing a market segment the soft drink companies haven't yet moved into - tap water.
JOHN SICHER: You know, right now there aren't a lot of signs of good growth. Energy drinks, which are small in volume but large in dollars, are seeing good growth. There's some growth in bottled water, but that's slowed. I think some consumers are drinking more tap water in the US.MICHAEL VINCENT: Is it a sign then perhaps that Americans are thinking more healthily about their waist line?
JOHN SICHER: Consumers love the brands, but they are drinking less of the products because of the obesity and health and wellness headwinds.I think Americans, I think consumers all over the world are thinking in a more healthy way about their waistline, their intake, but I think that the sweetener research is important.
In Australia right now, Pepsi is selling a product which is a mid-calorie product sweetened with sugar and stevia and I think this kind of product, that that particular product is sold by Pepsi today in Australia, France and Canada. Coke's got a similar product that's selling in Argentina and Chile.Those kinds of products are cutting edge products and their success could determine how things go over the next few years.
MICHAEL VINCENT: As for the obesity "head winds" John Sicher refers to, the latest figures from the Journal of the American Medical Association show that more than one-third of American adults are obese and that number has not significantly changed in the past decade.
This is Michael Vincent in Washington for AM.
The Article @www.abc.net.au
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