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Carbonated drinks to co -exist with fruit juices and healthy beverages
Friday, 18 January, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Anurag More, Mumbai
Fruit juices, health drinks and beverages that are a combination of both carbonated drinks as well as fruit juices all are gaining traction rapidly in the Indian beverages market, but colas stand firm.

As consumers in India are increasingly realising the potential threats of sugary carbonated drinks, the growth of such beverages is expected to slow down. Experts feel that consumers are expected to shift to healthier alternatives, sooner or later, which shall force cola companies to revisit their plans.

And some of them have already started mixing fruit juices with carbonated water like lemonade and lime-based carbonates, which are expected to experience the fastest growth amongst all such beverages due to their versatility as mixers in alcoholic drinks, as well.

A PwC report on Retail and Consumer Quarterly Newsletter says that this would lead to huge sales of such drinks which are not pure cola or carbonated.

Double-digit value
Another report by Euromonitor on ‘Naturally Healthy’ beverages in India says that naturally healthy beverages continued to record double-digit current value growth in 2017, which was in line with the review period CAGR. The rising rates of obesity and diabetes coupled with nutritional deficiencies helped to generate interest and demand for these products, says the report.

The report further stated that there is growing interest in natural ingredients with flavours such as orange, mango and apple remaining the most popular. Meanwhile, Ayurveda-based juice such as aloe vera and amla, as well as vegetable juices are increasingly being consumed by people in India.

An expert analyses the emerging trend, thus: "Soft drinks were common preference among all the individuals, irrespective of their age groups as it had great brand value and great advertisement. However, consumer preferences are changing towards healthier food, and thus such a trend will carry on for some time to come. In the soft drinks market of late, most recent new products launched have been focussed on the health benefits of the soft drinks, like pomegranate juices, calcium-fortified bottled water and a series of reduced-sugar alternatives, with such features not previously so readily available to or heavily promoted at the target audience."

However, other experts feel that given the age profile of Indian population and skew in socio-economic status both markets - cola and health drink - are expected to grow. Cola will continue to be sold because of aggressive marketing targeted at the youth. They will co-exist. Health drinks are most unlikely to disrupt the cola market.

Fruit extracts with colas
Meanwhile, Prerna Gupta, assistant professor, food technology & nutrition, Lovely Professional University, opined, "Market share of cola products is most popular choice of consumers over any other beverages like fruit juice, health drink etc. Day by day they are also becoming popular in the rural areas beside urban. Mixing with fruit extracts with colas might be a good choice but it is upto the producers that whether they will prefer to develop such combinations or not. To make the combinations popular, consumers should be made aware about the benefits of fruit juices over carbonated beverages."

She added that without doubt the health drink market is growing because of increased health awareness and sedentary lifestyle. At the same time, cola is a fun drink and it is marketed as such. Hence, all the three varieties - colas, healthy beverages as well as beverages that are a cross between colas and juices - will have a market in the future.
 
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