Drink this

Carbonated soft drinks account for 26.3 percent of the beverage marketplace, but share is continuing to decline, according to Gary Hemphill, managing director of New York City-based Beverage Marketing Corp., who spoke at the recent Worldwide Food Expo 2007 in Chicago. Bottled water makes up 14.4 percent of the beverage marketplace and is the fastest growing, followed by coffee and beer (both at 11.3 percent), milk (10.9 percent), tap water/other (12.9 percent) fruit beverages (7 percent), tea (4.1 percent), wine (1.2 percent) and spirits (0.7 percent). Trends in the first half of 2007 are mostly a continuation of 2006 with energy drinks having the greatest growth of all categories at 40.9 percent, followed by value-added water. By 2010, he predicts there will be even greater emphasis on "real" health benefits, fortified waters, energy drinks, kid-targeted water, juice and milk-drinks and liquid meal replacements. As for beverage packaging, we'll be seeing more functional and interactive packages, and drink packages targeted directly to kids, teens and seniors. Carbonated soft drinks, milk and fruit beverages have the greatest challenge. Hemphill says they will need to innovate and provide healthier options to rekindle growth. It's notable that opportunities include focused life-stage targeting, according to Hemphill. Kids want refreshment, Echo Boomers seek a pick-me-up, Gen X looks for fun, Baby Boomers desire drinks that hydrate and Matures want indulgence.