Consumers swallow price inflation as the water-based drinks category thrives


The demand for water-based drinks is increasing as value sales in the category across Europe grew by circa 9% in 2022 on inflationary trends, new research shows.

According to analysis from IRI’s data, price increases across more than half of all water drinks products hasn’t reduced demand, with volume sales growth of 3.4%, the equivalent of 1.7 billion units.

Average volume sales also revealed that sports and energy drinks have seen a 9.7% average growth to August 2022, with carbonates seeing a 0.6% increase and 4.2% for water.

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“The water-based drinks category is largely resilient to inflationary trends,” IRI global SVP, strategic growth insights, Ananda Roy said.

“We can see this is the case across key European markets despite 55% of ranges being at higher prices. Despite the growth in volumes, the IRI data indicates that consumers are not uniform in their choices, implying strategic decisions are being made.

“As sales of fruit juice and nectar products continue to decline, it seems that consumers are looking to manage costs as well as make healthier choices.”

Roy said that particularly in the UK, “where consumers are having to trade down and reassess what’s affordable for them,” it will be critical to ensure that “there are a range of healthy options coupled with new product innovation and the right distribution strategy.”

He added that while “consumers are not willing to swallow the environmental impact of drink packaging, fossil fuel, water and greenhouse gas use, as they beome more aware of the carbon footprint and transportation, water miles, packaging weight and use, this will influence their purchase decisions.”



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