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RESEARCH: UK still drinks give sparkling performance

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The UK non-carbonated soft drinks industry, and in particular some of the smaller brands, is performing above expectations, according to research released today.

Consumption of still drinks in the UK increased by 9% in 2002, says a report from beverage industry analysts Canadean.

"A major strength of still drinks is the fact that they are perceived by parents to be healthier for children. This has helped attract new consumers from the long-life juice and carbonates sectors. In addition, the image of still drinks is being greatly enhanced by a number of new products," said Canadean.

Market may lose a little fizz but orange looking decidedly flat The report predicts that the market will continue to grow in 2003 but at nowhere near the rate seen in 2002. Consumption is expected to increase by a further 2%.

The demise of Sunny Delight has hampered the orange sector, which has seen its share of the still drinks market recede significantly over the last three years. Blackcurrant, peach and strawberry have all faired better and the demand for cocktails has increased by over 120% in the last four years, albeit from a low base volume.

Cool for school Still drinks appeal to parents and children alike as both audiences continue to shy away from carbonated drinks in school. Purchases of multipacks are growing, fuelled by the thriving school lunchbox market.

This profitable niche has not been lost on producers who remain fiercely competitive. Strong branding, packaging and "buy one get one free" promotions all featured heavily in 2002.

The still drinks sector is now viewed within the industry as a potential source of increased sales value and volume. As such, its highly competitive environment should remain with small pack sizes, innovative use of flavours and packaging, and highly targeted marketing likely to be employed. Robinsons 'SHOOTS' to top of the class The success of the Fruit Shoots brand enabled Britvic's Robinsons to deliver promising results in 2002. Robinsons, which has an extremely strong presence in squashes and syrups, was the second most popular overall soft drinks brand.

"Fruit Shoots was easily the fastest growing still drinks brand in the market in 2002. Furthermore, the short-term future looks assured with the introduction of new flavours and extended distribution," said Canadean. In conjunction with flavoured waters and Ribena, Fruit Shoots have also helped PET to increase its share of still drinks packaging substantially. Canadean believe that 2003 will be even better with PET overtaking cartons as the most popular type of packaging for the category.


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