New product activity in soft drinks appears to be accelerating strongly again, with rising levels of global launch activity recorded by Innova Market Insights over the past two years, following more restrained rises in the three years previous to that.
Fruit juices and drinks dominated launch activity with over 43% of the total, reflecting the extremely diverse range of products included in the category. Carbonates took second place with 14%, just ahead of concentrates and mixes, then iced tea and coffee drinks, sports and energy drinks, plain and flavoured water and sports and energy drinks.
Over the past five years, the shares of carbonates, juices and juice drinks, concentrates and mixes and iced tea and coffee have risen, while the shares of bottled water (flavoured and unflavoured) and sports and energy drinks have fallen.
Lu Ann Williams, director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, points out that a declining share of launch activity does not necessarily indicate a poor market performance overall.
She said: "Sports and energy drinks remain one of the fastest growing sectors of the market over that period, despite their share of global soft drinks launch activity falling from a peak of 13% in 2005 to just under 7%.
"Consolidation in the increasingly mature market, particularly the greater dominance of multinational brands and the disappearance of many smaller brands is probably the main reason for slowing activity rates, although actual launch numbers did still rise over the five-year period.”
Health continues to be a key area of interest in the soft drinks market, where some products, such as juices and water, have an inherently healthy image, while some are formulated for specific benefits beyond hydration, notably sports and energy drinks.
Elsewhere in the mainstream market, however, companies are continuing to position all types of products on health platforms of various kinds from the passive, such as sugar-free, low calorie, natural, etc, to the active, such as vitamin- and mineral-fortified, added-calcium and functional, as well as offering specific health benefits such as immune health, heart health, oral health.
Source: Innova Market Insights