This week Down Under

Soft drinks seeing surge in young Australian consumption

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Related tags Soft drinks Coca-cola

Good news for Coca-Cola Amatil. The bottler and distributor might have posted its lowest profit in eight years, but research figures suggest that consumption of soft drinks is increasing in a key segment of the Australian population.

Last year, 56% of under-25-year-olds drank at least one soft drink a week, up from 53% in 2013, with Coca-Cola the market leader, along with its sub-brands. 

Of these, 38% chose Coke, Diet Coke, Vanilla Coke and Coke Zero, compared to 35% in 2013.

In contrast, however, the next age group showed the most marked decreases—both for soft drinks in general and for the Coke brand. 

In 2013, 56% of those aged 25-34 consumed at least one soft drink a week, but last year this figure fell to 53%. The proportion who consumed Coca-Cola soft drinks dropped from 41% to 37%. 

Australians aged 35-49 drank fractionally fewer soft drinks, though there was a more noticeable, three-point decline in their Coca-Cola consumption.

Traditionally the least zealous soft drink consumers, the 50-plus demographic remained stable at 40%. 

Back in 2007, 59% of Australians drank soft drinks in an average seven days. In the ensuing years, this figure decreased dramatically, and now sits at 48%. Coca-Cola was one of many brands affected by this downturn​,” said Angela Smith of Roy Morgan research. 

In the case of young Aussies aged under-25, soft drinks have actually experienced a surge in popularity over the last year. Not only are more under-25s consuming soft drinks, but they are the only age group whose average individual consumption has increased, from 5.7 glasses in an average seven days to 6.2 glasses​.”

Other stories from Down Under…

Sorghum takes pressure off wheat production in drought-hit Australia

Increased consumption of Australian sorghum in China is behind a boom in the production of the supergrain, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. 


Sorghum production increased by 70% in the last year to an estimated 2.2m tonnes, the government researcher said, with demand expected to rise again next year alongside favourable growing conditions. 

With Australia in the midst of a lengthy drought, sorghum is seen as a godsend for farmers due to its hardy character and cheap cultivation. Considered a superfood in nutrition circles, it is also a staple in China and India.

Katie Hutt from the ABS said that sorghum production had increased in the face of falling wheat production, signifying a shift towards sorghum by farmers. 

"The total area of sorghum in Australia increased by 37% in 2014-15 to 730,000 hectares, up from 532,000 in 2013-14, resulting in record high areas of sorghum​," Hutt said. 

"ABS export data reflects the increase in production with a higher demand from China, which accounted for the majority of Australian sorghum exports in 2014-15​." 

"Wheat production was estimated to have fallen in Western Australia with frost and hail damage contributing to the decrease​." 

"Wheat production was also estimated to have fallen in New South Wales due to a dry finish across most of the state, adversely affecting yields​." 

Poison blackmail response should prompt confidence in Kiwi food safety

Consumers in New Zealand and abroad should take confidence in the way a criminal blackmail threat to contaminate infant formula with a pesticide was handled, the country’s food ministry has claimed.


Speaking after a man pleaded guilty to two counts of blackmail in Auckland High Court for threatening to contaminate nutritional dairy products with the 1080 pesticide, the director-general of the Ministry of Primary Industries said safety authorities and the private sector had put on a strong show.

What we saw in response to this threat was multiple government agencies working together with dairy companies and retailers with a common purpose—to protect consumers​,” said Martyn Dunne in a statement after the court hearing. 

The 60-year-old man threatened to contaminated formula unless the government stopped using 1080, which contains sodium fluoroacetate, in its fight against introduced mammalian pests.

When the threat was made, the government, manufacturers and retailers collaborated to implement additional layers of security so consumers could continue using infant formula “with confidence​”, according to the MPI, which named the response “Operation Concord​”.

The New Zealand Police should be congratulated for getting to this point. They managed a determined and focussed investigation​,” Dunne added. 

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