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Oct 21, 2014 / Richard Hall

Calories and beverage choices

At Zenith’s Global Bottled Water Congress in Budapest earlier in October, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of global market leader Nestlé Waters, Marco Settembri, made some dramatic statements.

He asked: “Can we in bottled water make a difference in public health?” And he answered: “I believe we can. People are not drinking enough water and are consuming too many calories from sugar-sweetened beverages, the usefulness of which is questioned by science”.

He showed a video illustrating the behaviour of 13,000 students in the United States when faced with a choice between two vending machines next to each other. One contained sugar-sweetened beverages, the other bottled water. An out of order sign was put on the bottled water machine. What happened? Did everyone walk away to find tap water? In fact, 63% chose a sugar-sweetened beverage instead.

He underlined that bottled water and tap water complement each other in increasing water consumption and urged the bottled water industry to promote the pleasure of drinking water.

Oct 16, 2014 / Richard Hall

Monster vs Red Bull in Spain

I’ve written several blogs about Monster energy drink catching up with and overtaking Red Bull in the United States.

Now it’s happening in Spain as well. The latest figures from the September edition of Alimarket show:

• Monster volume up 56% to 25 million litres in 2013, compared with Red Bull down 6% to 30 million litres.

• Monster retail volume up 7.5 share points to 21.0% in the year to 30 March 2014, compared with Red Bull down 2.1 share points to 20.3%.

Where next, I wonder ?

Oct 14, 2014 / Richard Hall

Soft drinks most social

Of the top 100 food, drink and other grocery brands in Britain, soft drinks are leading the way, according to analysis of Facebook and Twitter engagement in The Grocer magazine earlier this month.

• 4 soft drinks were in the top 10 : Irn-Bru at 1, Volvic at 2, Pepsi at 5 and Capri-Sun at 10.

• 5 more were in the top 50 : Robinsons at 22, Fanta at 27, Ribena at 37, Innocent at 39 and Evian at 40.

Dairy had 8 entries and hot drinks 4.

Alcohol and some other categories were excluded.

Oct 9, 2014 / Richard Hall

Record 62 acquisitions in September

September was a record month for food and drink sector transactions, with 62 listed on the database including 19 in the first 4 days alone.

8 involved sums over $500 million and 3 of these more than $1,000 million:

• $4,600 million sales from the proposed new terms of merger between fruit businesses Chiquita of the United States and Fyffes of Ireland

• $1,400 million for Japan’s Mitsubishi to buy Norwegian fish producer Cermaq

• $1,225 million for US Crown Holdings to purchase Heineken’s Empaque packaging operations in Mexico.

Among the 62 total, 11 were in soft drinks, 9 in dairy, 8 in alcohol, 6 in packaging, 4 in ingredients and 4 in nutrition.

30 were international and 32 within national borders, 24 of these solely in the United States.

28 countries featured overall, with 36 involving the United States, 6 the United Kingdom, 5 Japan, 4 Brazil and 4 Ireland.

It should also be noted that August’s largest prospective deal relating to Treasury Wine Estates of Australia will not now proceed.

Oct 8, 2014 / Richard Hall

Packaging breakthrough

PET has transformed the bottled water and carbonated soft drinks markets. It has had less success with beer, fruit drinks and milk.

Now Sidel has come up with a real contender for beer. Its new bottle:

• has a smooth round base like glass
• can take a crown cap like other beer bottles
• saves up to 86% of the weight of glass
• withstands flash and tunnel pasteurisation
• offers a six month shelf life
• and, of course, it’s clear, doesn’t shatter and so on.

At the moment, although 5 billion bottles of beer are sold in PET each year, this represents only 2% of total consumption. It’s not hard to imagine this figure rising substantially in the coming years.

Oct 2, 2014 / Richard Hall

Global economy slows

It had been growing by 4% a year, then slumped in 2008/09 and swiftly returned to 4% growth in 2010. Since then it has hovered at around 3%, but now seems to be heading towards just 2%.

All this is captured in the most insightful single line I have ever seen – The Economist magazine’s regular chart on overall global economic growth.

Global Economy Slows

The commentary on 13th September highlighted that:

• Brazil has slipped into recession
• Russia has stalled
• Japan’s new sales tax has depressed consumption
• Euro area growth was a mere 0.7% in the year to June
• China contributed 45% of total global growth.

2.6% is not to be sneezed at, but 4% would be far healthier.

Sep 30, 2014 / Richard Hall

French revolution in water

France is regarded by many as the cradle of natural mineral water. Yet spring water has now overtaken mineral water in retail sales volume, according to the latest Scantrack statistics for hypermarkets and supermarkets during the 12 months to June 2014.

Still spring water had a 41.5% share of total water volume, compared with 39.0% for still mineral water. Sparkling waters accounted for 17.6% and flavoured waters the remaining 1.9%.

In value terms, however, still mineral water continues to outsell still spring water by a factor of more than two to one. Still mineral water’s value share was 44.3%, compared with just 20.1% for still spring water. Sparkling waters were a far stronger 29.5% and flavoured waters 6.1%.

All water segments have returned to growth in France, with total volume up 4.1% and value up 2.5%, led by sparkling flavoured water volume up 22.3% and still flavoured water value up 22.5%.

Plus ça change, plus ce n’est pas la même chose.

Sep 25, 2014 / Richard Hall

Europe recycling spurt

Recycling in Europe is at last making better progress. The latest figures from Petcore Europe about PET bottles are encouraging for two main reasons:

• Collection rose by a very substantial 7% in 2013 to 65 billion bottles weighing 1.64 million tonnes.

• This represents well over 50% of the total – 56% in fact and significantly better than the 52% in 2012 or 51% in 2011.

With plenty of spare recycling capacity around, there is every reason to aim for 60% at the earliest opportunity.