With sharp declines in consumption among the under-35s over the past five years, middle-aged Australians aged 35-49 are now the group most likely to have a soft drink in an average week, according to a report by Roy Morgan Research.
“As Australians become increasingly health conscious, we are seeing the number of soft drink consumers decrease,” said Angela Smith, a consumer products specialist at the Australian market research agency.
“However, soft drink consumption behaviours differ among age groups. Those under 35 are more likely now to drink none or less, while heavier consumption appears to be entrenched among those over 35.”
On the fall
In the 12 months to June 2009, around two in three Australians between 14 and 34 had some soft drink in an average week. But by June 2013, their consumption rate had declined by nine percentage points, to 57%.
Meanwhile, consumption had also declined among 35-49 year-olds, but only by three percentage points, to 58%. Soft drink remains least popular among those aged over 50, however, with weekly consumption now at 40%—down from 44%.
Overall, 50% of Australians over the age of 14 now consume at least one soft drink over a seven-day period—down from 56% in 2009.
What’s more, soft drink consumers are more likely to belong to young families living in the outer suburbs earning above average income, or the so-called “Battlers” community of people on fixed incomes across all stages of life, Smith added.
“As the number of young Australians who drink soft drink continues to drop, soft drink distributers and marketers will need to gain a better understanding of their new target market in order to stay competitive.”
Quantity down too
Younger soft drink consumers are also drinking less of it. The average weekly intake declined by 1.2 to 5.5 glasses among consumers under 25, and by 0.6 to 6.3 glasses among 25-34 year-olds.
When combined with the decline in overall consumption rates, this equates to around 5m fewer glasses of soft drinks being consumed per week by Aussies under 35.
Weekly intake, however, rose slightly among the older groups. Consumers aged between 35 and 49 now drink an average of seven glasses per week (up 0.1) with those over 50+ drinking 6.1 (up 0.2).
Overall weekly intake declined from 6.6 glasses to 6.3.