As the war on sugar rages, it is no surprise that, according to consumer research by GlobalData, almost half (48 percent) of consumers globally are actively choosing soft drinks which have low or no sugar. However, what is also apparent is that many (57 percent) are trying to limit or avoid artificial sweeteners present in most sugar-free alternatives; leaving unsweet beverages as a key opportunity in an otherwise struggling market.

While the majority of consumers believe unsweetened products are healthier for them, taste is a significant barrier to consumption. Indeed, younger consumers will take the most convincing, with less than a third of 18-24 year olds believing unsweetened products can taste better than sweetened versions.

To stay relevant, soft drinks makers face a serious challenge to develop unsweet, yet flavoursome, products that will engage younger consumers. Hint Water in the US is just one example of a brand achieving this through their range of innovative flavor infusions; but there is strong opportunity for other brands to capitalize on this growing segment.