Water market forecast to build on 11% growth

Soft-drinks companies' main growth is set to come from bottled water, according to the Britvic Soft Drinks Category Report 2007.

The report revealed that, as consumers seek healthier options, water's take-home value increased by 11% to £643m last year, with Evian and Volvic leading the category. It was also the fastest-growing category in the on-trade, up 28% to £75m.

Despite its growth here, water still holds a significantly smaller share of total soft-drink consumption than in continental Europe, suggesting there is considerable further potential.

Last year the category accounted for about 20% of the UK's total soft-drinks market by volume, compared with more than 50% in all other European countries.

Britvic marketing director Andrew Marsden said he saw a 'bright future' for the category. He pointed out that water is now often seen as an accessory, especially within the office environment, rather than simply as a thirst-quencher.

Britvic launched two water brands last year, Robinson Fruit Shoot H2O and Drench, to supplement existing brand Pennine Spring, which it relaunched. The firm plans to revamp the packaging of both Drench and Pennine Spring this year to capitalise on the predicted growth.

Other brands also looking to benefit include Princes-owned Aqua-Pura, which is launching two flavoured sports drinks, Activa and Reviva, at the end of the month, and Innocent Drinks, which is launching This Water in the summer.

Separately, Britvic is planning to introduce new formats for its Pepsi brand, including packs aimed at the children's lunchbox market. It has also pinpointed squash as a key sector for innovation.

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