Low-calorie and low-sugar drinks are driving growth in the beverages market as consumers increasingly opt for healthier options, according to Global Data’s UK Quarterly Beverages Forecast for Q2 2019.

Embedded in these choices is consumer concern about the excessive use of single-use plastics in drinks packing.

Addressing both concerns successfully may be the Holy Grail in this market segment and it has certainly been attempted stylishly by Turtle Sodas, a new UK carbonates company that launched a range of zero-sugar and zero-calories sodas – packaged in aluminium can – in October.

The company says it is founded on “healthy living and conservation imperatives”, prompting the brand to exclusively market soft drinks with no artificial sweeteners and no plastic packaging, which dovetails nicely with GlobalData’s findings about current consumer trends.

Sweetening is achieved by using stevia, a sugar substitute derived from a South American plant. The novelty is that stevia-sweetened products are meant to have zero impact on the body and the environment, without compromising on taste.

Moreover, the brand claims its mission is to help Sea Turtles (the ‘spirit animal of the brand’, also found on the label) through conservation efforts.

With more big brands increasingly switching to zero-calorie alternatives, such as Coca-Cola Zero and Fanta Zero, the market is changing to reflect consumers’ ethical and healthy choices, and Turtle Sodas want to share in its success.

When it comes to soda, consumers have shown an inclination towards “better-for-you”, premium products which look to reduce or avoid sugar altogether.

This choice is part of the growing health & wellness trend.

According to a GlobalData 2019 Q3 global consumer survey, health concerns are at the top of the list for the majority of consumers globally, with only 6% of consumers saying they are not worried about their health. Also, around 92% of global consumers believe that eating healthily is important for creating feelings of wellbeing and wellness, while 66% think that sugar-free products are somewhat or very appealing.

Raising awareness

Turtle Sodas is planning to use social media, events and a lecture series to spread awareness and encourage people to make donations to its charity partners. It markets itself as a mission-driven company, using the #BeMoreTurtle hashtag on Instagram and Facebook to promote itself and to raise awareness.

The consumption of soft drinks in this way of thinking is not just about hedonistic enjoyment, but about engaging consumers with a purpose connected to their surroundings and wellbeing. The initiative has clear echoes of Coca-Cola’s recent actions supporting particular organisations, like their partnership with the WWF or their community work with the River Trust in East Anglia, promoting sustainable water-sensitive farming.

Brands like Turtle Sodas understand that having a strong environmental goal and encouraging consumers to get involved will bring benefits for both parties in the long run.

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