The market for low-calorie beers and soft drinks in Colombia is growing strongly and companies are positioning themselves to take advantage of the trend.

Major beer producer Bavaria’s new Aguila Light brand has proved an enormous success since its launch five months ago. The company predicts it will sell 800,000 hectolitres of Light in the brand’s first year, equivalent to 10% of all beer sales in Colombia.

Aguila Light’s success has inspired Holland’s Heineken to launch Amstel Light in Colombia. Amstel Light was only previously available in the region in Argentina.

The market for low-calorie soft drinks is also very healthy. Coca-Cola was the pioneer, launching Coca Cola Light in 1999. Subsequent launches include Pepsi Light in 2001 and Postobón Light and Sprite Light in 2002.

Pablo Largacha, Coca-Cola Colombia’s public affairs director, said he believed the low-calorie sector was benefiting from increasing health consciousness among Colombians in the 18 to 36 age bracket.

Part of the sector’s success is also due to solid support from major Colombian retailers who have supported low-calorie drinks, which tend to be purchased by higher spending customers.