Global drinks consumption is rising by 2.5% a year, with total volume reaching 1.27 trillion (million million) litres in 2001, equivalent to 207 litres per person, accordding to the latest research.

The figures, from globaldrinks.com, an online database from drinks consultancy Zenith International, show that Asia/Australasia has the highest regional share of world consumption, with 32% of total volume in 2001.

Tea is the world's most popular drink at 54 litres per person, followed by carbonates and milk. However, bottled water is the fastest growing market, accounting for 35% of overall volume growth from 1996 to 2001.

East Europe is forecast to achieve the greatest future growth in total beverage consumption, by over 50 litres per person between 2001 and 2006.

The database anticipates that total world consumption will reach 1.44 trillion litres in 2006, a continuing annual growth rate of 2.5%.

"With the performance of bottled water showing no sign of weakening, soft drinks will once again be the driving force behind future global beverage market growth," concluded Zenith's Gary Roethenbaugh.