A report from the UK drinks consultancy, Zenith International, has revealed that soft drinks consumption in the UK rose by more than 5% in 2002 to 13.1 billion litres, equating to a retail value of £10.2 billion.

The Zenith 2003 UK Soft Drinks Report said that the launch of new line extensions, such as Diet Coke with Lemon and Pepsi Twist, had provided a major boost to growth in the largest sector in the soft drinks market, carbonated soft drinks (CSDs).

"Innovation is key to sustaining interest in soft drinks and stimulating demand," said Zenith's research director, Gary Roethenbaugh. "This has been taken up by the major carbonated soft drinks manufacturers as they struggle to match the rise of bottled water and still drinks."

The report indicated that non-carbonated drinks achieved the highest percentage growth in 2002, while bottled water once again had had a strong year.

Zenith is forecasting that the UK soft drinks industry will see steady growth over the next five years, climbing at an annual rate of 4% to 15.7 billion litres by 2007.