Carbonated soft drinks have for long been considered as healthy drinks and have become a dietary staple. However, a look at the latest figures of the carbonated soft drinks category suggests different trends. There has been a decline in the volumes of soft drinks since 2005. According to leading analyst of Morgan Stanley Bill Pecoriello the trends over the last few years show that there is a decline of around 1.5% in the volumes of soft drink sales and the trend may well continue over the next few years. With the weekly or even daily consumption of the carbonated soft drinks going down among various age groups Pecoriello predicts that the yearly volumes may well be affected to a large extent.
The domination of the soft drinks has for a long time been due to the perception that it is healthy and safe. However, different studies over the years indicate that it may really not be the case. Soft drinks contain sweeteners which have been identified as a major cause of obesity among adolescents. The acidic nature of the soft drinks, according to experts is the cause of dental decay and oral carries. With growing awareness about the ill effects on health more and more people are now turning to healthier drinks like sports drinks, flavored carbonated water, fruit juices etc.
The most shocking news for the soft drink manufacturers is the increased awareness among teenagers. Statistics show that teenagers mainly 13 to 17 year olds are drinking fewer soft drinks than the overall population. According to Pecoriello, this is because they are purchasing non carbonated drinks like sports drinks, fruit juices, etc. This is what is alarming for the manufacturers as this age group was among the top consumers of soft drinks for years. They are opting for beverages which would help boost energy, help build muscle mass and have lesser ill effects. They are showing concern about their overall health and wellness. The image of the regular colas and diet colas as health drinks continues to deteriorate. Growing awareness as well as parental restrictions could be the major cause of this reversal of trends.
According to Pecoriello, the trend towards healthier soft drinks may be of advantage to PepsiCo, who have a strong portfolio of non carbonated soft drinks like Gatorade and Aquafina water. As compared to them, Coca-Cola brand’s drinks Powerade and Dasani Mineral water have not picked up business as much as PepsiCo. Bottlers of Coke are considering distributing non Coke products which is turning out to be more profitable. With the exception of water the non carbonated drinks have a share of around 21% in the US soft drink industry which may go to 60% in the next five years. Coca-Cola however may be able to score some points over PepsiCo with some of their new products that they are manufacturing using stevia which is generally regarded as a safe herb. The no calorie, natural sweetener can be a huge advantage for the beverages to stay in the market.
From the report of Pecoriello on soft drinks industry trends it may be safe to say that people are looking at healthier options. Having a carbonated soft drink once in a while may be safer than drinking it every day of the year. The trends suggest growing awareness among people which is worrying for the soft drink manufacturers but good news for experts and nutritionists who hope it lasts forever.