Sales of soft drinks in Chile rose year-on-year by 7.2% in the first quarter of 2004 and are well on course to meet the sector's target of 6% growth this year.

This is the third successive quarter that the soft drinks, mineral water and juices sector has registered growth of above 7%. In 2003 sales totalled around US$1 billion, with soft drinks accounting for around 86% of this total. In the same year, volumes hit a historic high of above 1.6 billion litres.

Sales in the first quarter of 2004 reached 453 million litres, the highest figure recorded in the last six years, largely in response to the rebound in the Chilean economy. As average incomes grow, sales through supermarkets have become increasingly important, with supermarkets now accounting for 12.9% of soft drinks sales, compared with 4.5% in the same period of 2000.