BAD WEATHER HAS NOT IMPEDED SOFT DRINKS' SALES
Soft drinks sales for the first three months of 2005 were 7% (14 million litres) up year-on-year, according to data of the Association of Soft Drinks Producers. Similar to last year, bottled mineral waters again had the biggest share in that growth. Their market share rose by 13 per cent. Big plastic bottles of 3 to 10 litres for household consumption were the best-sellers. Forty two brands of mineral water are presently offered on the Bulgarian market. The most preferred among them are: BK Gorna Banya, Bulminveks GB EOOD, Mineral Waters Bankya OOD, Devin AD, Agrima AD, JV OOD, DLA BK AD, Crystal Water OOD. Nestle Bulgaria is also struggling to occupy a segment on that market after the company became a distributor of one of the most famous brands of mineral water in the world - San Pelegrino (owned by Nestle Waters). In Bulgaria San Pelegrino will be offered in glass single-use bottles of 250 ml and 750 ml and will be included in the menus of elite restaurants and places of entertainment.Sales of fizzy drinks were not influenced adversely by the winter season and picked up 4% as compared to the same period of 2004. For several years now consumers prefer non-fruity flavours, which reported a 12% increase in sales. Drinks of the 'orange' type registered a 10% growth year-on-year, sales of the 'lemonade' type rose by 18%, and of the 'light' type - by 5 per cent. Fruit juices and nectars also followed the tendency on the soft drinks market and reported a 7% increase year-on-year. Glass bottles are gaining popularity. Litex Juice - the maker of the Queen's juices - has recently launched products in glass bottles, too. Consumers have been also attracted by the big variety of drinks. Coca-Cola HBK, for instance, enriched its product range by offering Fanta - Pink Grapefruit. Bulgarian manufacturers still hold 86% of the soft drinks market. This is mostly due to their competitive prices and high quality of products. For years on end top positions have been occupied by Prison of Agrima AD, BBB and Link AD, Florina of the eponymous company, Queen's of Litex Juice OOD and Ganchev. The Association of Soft Drinks Producers forecasts that 2005 will be quite a good year and annual sales may reach 1,150 million litres, which means that consumption per capita has increased from 137 litres to 150 litres.