The beverage industry is facing ongoing challenges in dealing with sugar, keeping pace with consumer demands and re-imaging of children’s drinks, Rehan Panditaratne of Euromonitor International told the recent Beverage Council conference in Wairakei.

He said the global market for soft drinks may have risen around 4 percent last year but the developed markets were flat. He said consumers seemed to want more flavoured water, healthier juices, tea-based drinks and even single serve RTD coffees. NPD was in bottled water innovations that were leading the way internationally while carbonates were on the decrease worldwide. He told the conference that juice was on the decline in many western markets because of concerns over sugar content but a lot of innovation was appearing in the sector to beat this trend, with particular emphasis on health.

He said his organisation was seeing an increasing number of launches of RTD iced teas and the innovations included low calorie iced green teas and a growth in carbonated RTD teas in a move to compensate for the decline in fizzy drinks. As well, there was a lot more international emphasis on marketing to the younger market through social media. He said the RTD team arena was still like a blank canvas He said the future challenge for the beverage industry lay in tighter regulations over products claims that came with all the new developments.