By Andrew Starke

Low carb and premium beer growth is no longer driving beer sales and the knock-on effect is being felt throughout the wider beverage category, according to new research on retail sales.

According to the recently released 2011 Wider Beverage Report by Nielsen, the latest trends in the Australian beverage market reveal that total value and volume sales are in decline.

For the first time since 2006, total beverage retail sales’ values declined in 2010. Total beverage volume also declined over the last year, but its compound annual growth rate actually grew.

“Packaged beer has been a key component in the recent beverage decline. It represents the largest beverage segment, and accounts for nearly one dollar in every four spent in the beverage category,” said Liz Watkinson, director for Nielsen’s Liquor Services Group.

”This is the first time we’ve seen the segment decline in over four years, as the traditional low carb and premium beer growth engines no longer appear to be fuelling the category.”

On the private label front, house brand growth continues to outpace branded beverage growth.

Overall, private label brands represent a seven percent share of beverages in retail value.

Bottled wine, chilled white milk and cask wine were segments where private label brands not only grew faster than branded products but also added more value to the segment than other branded products.

Australians were also found to be spending 60 percent of their beverage dollars on alcoholic drinks, which is high given that the market is restricted to adults aged 18 and over.

The amount spent on alcohol is five times greater than the next largest category, carbonated drinks.

However, in terms of beverage volume consumed, it is not alcohol, but tea and coffee that represent what Australians are drinking the most, at just over a third of all beverages consumed.

Alcohol is the next favoured drink, in terms of amount consumed, at 19 percent volume.

New age drinks was the fastest growing category in retail value, primarily driven by the strong performance and the premium pricing of the energy drinks, functional waters and tea drinks segments.

Coca Cola retained its position as the number one beverage trademark in the 2010 top 50 beverage trademark rankings, followed by Victoria Bitter and Carlton.

The three fastest moving trademarks in 2010 compared to 2006 were Pure Blonde, Red Bull and Lipton.

The full 2011 Nielsen Wider Beverage Report is now available to purchase through Nielsen and provides a unique view of beverage spend and consumption across key channels and beverage categories in Australia.

It is the only multi-channel, multi-category review of the wider beverage market in Australia.

For more information, or for further details of how to purchase the report, please contact your Nielsen representative or click here.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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