Global drinks consumption is rising by 2.6% a year, with total volume reaching 1.32 trillion (million million) litres in 2002, equivalent to 214 litres per person, according research released yesterday.

The figures from the on line database globaldrinks.com show that Asia/Australasia has the highest regional share of world consumption at 33% of the total in 2002. The region's global influence is expected to grow, with volumes forecast to climb an extra 19% by 2007.

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, recording a 60% gain in the past five years and projected to jump by a further 39% up to 2007.

East Europe is set to achieve the greatest consumption growth per person, advancing by over 45 litres per person during the next five years.

The database anticipates that total world consumption will approach 1.5 trillion litres in 2007, reflecting continued growth of 2.5% a year.

"Asia contains over half the world's population but consumption per person is less than one fifth that of North America. The region holds huge growth potential for those companies willing to invest in and develop the drinks market there," said Gary Roethenbaugh of Zenith International, which runs the database.