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Keywords:

  • beverage;
  • carbonated beverage;
  • dietary sucrose;
  • drinking

Abstract

Aim

To show trends in sales of sugar-sweetened and non-sugar water-based beverages in Australia over a 15-year period.

Methods

Data were obtained from grocery sales surveys and adjusted to yield total market sales. Trends were examined using regression analysis both in absolute terms and per head. Home scan data were used to evaluate patterns of carbonated soft drink purchase according to income and household structure. Usage patterns by age and sex were also assessed.

Results

Sales of non-alcoholic, water-based beverages grew at a rate of 1.7% per annum, driven largely by sales of non-sugar varieties (4.9% per annum) with a smaller contribution from sugar-sweetened beverages (0.3% per annum). Volume share of non-sugar increased from 30 to 42% over the 15-year period, while sugar sweetened showed sustained loss of share. Sales of sugar-sweetened carbonated soft drinks fell over 15 years at a rate of 0.7% per annum, with a drop in volume share of 18%. Still water, energy and sports drinks showed persistent growth. Sugar contribution from water-based beverages and soft drinks fell from 9.2 to 7.6 kg per person and from 8.4 to 6.2 kg per person, respectively. Soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks were most popular with teenagers and young adults, but not with older individuals. Low-income households purchased less soft drinks compared to middle- and high-income households.

Conclusions

The water-based beverage category is undergoing a fundamental shift from sugar-sweetened to non-sugar drinks. The consequent fall in the sugar contribution from water-based beverages, and soft drinks in particular, is consistent with public health objectives.