Soft drinks recorded another year of modest growth in 2018 thanks to outstanding performance by certain categories. Energy drinks enjoyed the most robust retail value growth followed by bottled water, sports drinks, Asian speciality drinks and carbonates, driven by energy drinks’ late entry to the Chinese market and energy drinks companies’ rising exposure in the media and at sports events.
Consumers’ growing preference for health and wellness products that either exclude sugar or include functional ingredients is also reflected in soft drinks products. Reduced sugar energy drinks appeared for the first time in 2017 as Amway introduced its energy drinks brand XS to China and achieved success in the first year.
In spite of multinational players’ long-established brand recognition and relatively larger share, local players are leading soft drinks’ growth and innovation as multinational players suffer from transformation and localisation issues. Nongfu Spring Co Ltd witnessed successful performance in many categories including bottled water and RTD tea.
Consumers’ awareness of freshness is growing, with many consumers, especially those in high-tier cities, considering short shelf life a key sign of freshness. On the one hand, soft drinks manufacturers’ technological developments in food processing, storage and transportation are making the launch of chilled products possible.
Soft drinks products with lighter colour and taste are gaining popularity as these products convey an image of health and wellness. Bottled water has become some consumers’ priority over other soft drinks for its excellent hydration and light appearance.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Soft Drinks market research database.