Generally, the New Zealand soft drinks environment has traditionally been dominated by carbonates, energy drinks, juice and bottled water. However, the development of new products has opened the door for many other types of drinks, in particular, healthy, functional and premium drinks, with some being a "hybrid" or "combination" product of the traditional distinct drinks categories.
Coconut and other plant waters have developed into a recognisable category, making plant based drinks popular. Furthermore, following on from the development of coconut water over 2015/2016, other plant waters in New Zealand now include aloe vera, such as the expansion of the Rejuva range into carbonated varieties, and cactus with Caliwater by Best Beverage Co Ltd. With slowing growth of carbonates due to the negative image of its sugar content, the development of premium, craft beverages has emerged, in particular non-alcoholic cider and ginger beer. Healthy drinks creating “new” drink categories are also developing, such as the introduction of Manukee, a Manuka Honey Drink with a UMF10+ (unique manuka factor), said to be beneficial in antibacterial properties and only sourced in New Zealand. The development of fermented drinks and hybrid drinks were evident in 2015/2016, with Kombucha Wonder Drink by Ceres Enterprises Ltd (a fermented tea drink) and OVI (an infusion of green tea, fruit juice, water, honey and minerals). These newer infused products are termed "lifestyle" drinks, and although still niche and small in size, they are developing.
The outlook for growth in soft drinks is expected to stem from developing new drinks, rather than existing categories. The demand for healthier, innovative, premium and functional beverages is likely to continue, opening the door for new developing drinks niches. In addition, the influence from Asian immigration, other nationalities, baby boomer health concerns and healthier choices for children are all expected to have an effect on the type of beverages in the market.
Infused, blended, added functional ingredients and “good for you” soft drinks are all expected to continue to develop to create new categories, or become a hybrid of several types. Tea as a base, exotic fruit blends and other healthy ingredient bases such as honey and other plant waters such as birch and maple are all likely to continue to be introduced over the next five years.