Hot summer benefits beverage market

Quarter three has seen a more upbeat performance in European commercial beverage consumption despite Russia’s deepening recession, says a report from Canadean.

Most countries in the third quarter of 2015 experienced good weather which boosted the consumption of all commercial beverages by nearly 2% compared to Q3-14 in West Europe, and East Europe’s decline reduced just a marginal 0.3%.

Packaged water was one of the key beneficiaries of the hot summer, with increases of 8% and 6% in West and East Europe respectively.

In recent months economic conditions have started to improve in many markets with GDP picking up and consumer average incomes again on the rise, all aiding the increase in beverage consumption. Premium categories such as energy drinks have particularly benefitted as more consumers can now afford to buy these products than before.

However, countries such as Russia and Greece have seen a deeper reduction in their beverage sales, impacted by the continuing severity of their economic turmoil.

Across Europe only eight markets saw a decline in packaged water, all of which have seen an economic turndown and have a good quality tap water for consumers to turn to.

The health and wellness trend saw sugary drinks such as carbonates, juice and nectars decrease, whilst healthier drinks such as hot tea and sports drinks experienced a rise in quarter three.

The ‘war on sugar’ as it has been branded across Western Europe has seen leading retailers reduce the number of full sugar variants on their shelves in a bid to combat obesity in both children and adults; there have also been calls to introduce a sugar tax in countries such as the UK, similar to the one already in place in France.

Consumers are turning to what are perceived as more natural flavours, such as green tea, in both hot tea and ice/RTD tea drinks and within the juice category, vegetable juices are making inroads.

Bars and restaurants in countries such as Portugal and Italy saw a revival during the quarter as the hot summer weather and rise in consumer confidence benefitted wine consumption. Beer, however, fared less well in East Europe as large brewing countries such as Ukraine continued to see a huge reduction in the amount of beer being produced; this has also been affected by the ban on imports to Russia and Belarus, the two main markets for Ukrainian beer.

Emma Wright, a beverage analyst at Canadean, says, “Overall with the improving economic conditions in many key markets and with the festive season, an important consumption occasion, just around the corner there is more optimism than earlier in the year for beverage growth in 2015.”

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