The current economic climate coupled with governmental and consumer concerns about health and wellness created a tough environment for the carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) market this year, according to analysts. Each of the Top 3 CSD companies reported relatively flat sales in 2013, with The Coca-Cola Co. reporting 1 percent worldwide sparkling volume growth for the full year, and PepsiCo Americas Beverages (PAB) and Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) marking 5 percent and 2 percent CSD volume declines, respectively, in North American markets. Despite these performance levels, CSD players remain resilient and focused on regaining share.
To quench consumers’ thirsts for lower-calorie, naturally sweetened beverages that offer full taste, CSD brands are investing in sweetener research. Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Co. piloted its first stevia-sweetened cola, Coca-Cola Life, in Argentina and Chile last summer. The beverage contains approximately half the calories of Coca-Cola and is naturally sweetened with a blend of stevia leaf extract and sugar.