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Consumer trends are turning towards "greener" drinks products and a demand for a broader array of drinks, according to recent research.

Rabobank beverage analyst and food & agribusiness research and advisory vice president Stephen Rannekleiv said in a research note yesterday (29 May) that two emerging trends were shaping the beverage industry going forward.

Over the past several years, the main consumer trends in the beverage industry have been consumer concern with health and wellness, convenience and premiumisation. Now it seems, two additional trends have emerged; a focus on "green" products and fragmentation as consumers demand better choice.

"The last year we have seen a real growth in greening and sustainability, and as consumers have different levels of priorities the fifth trend has been demand fragmentation as consumers look for specific niche products for specific needs," said Rannekleiv.

The emerging greening trend began growing in 2004 and took root in 2007 when the number of products with "green" or "eco-friendly" in the label almost doubled.

Fragmentation has arisen as customers' tastes and needs change, forcing companies to create more niche products as well as increase the number of products offered to fulfil various needs.

According to Rannekleiv, over the last decade, most distributors have doubled the number of products they offer.

The current US economy could alter these trends in the beverage industry or create new trends. But, said Rannekleiv, "that's the million dollar question right now; it's hard to know how deep seeded these changes are. A lot of it depends on the economy's health in the next year.

"However, as consumer pocketbooks are strained by the current economy, whether consumers continue to pay premiums for these products remains to be seen."


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