Prepared Foods November 15, 2004 enewsletter

The National Soft Drink Association announced it has changed its name to the American Beverage Association (ABA) to better reflect the expanded range of nonalcoholic beverages the industry produces. The 85-year-old, Washington-based association represents the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages, including bottled water, teas, juices, juice drinks, sports drinks, zero-calorie and mid-calorie carbonated soft drinks, regular soft drinks, and milk-based beverages.

"Our members are meeting consumer demand by offering a wider array of beverages than ever before, and we think it's important for our association's name to reflect that," said Will Ball, ABA president. "Americans still love traditional soft drinks, but now there are many more options available so that consumers of all ages can choose the beverage that's appropriate for them at any given time."

Ball cited the increasing sales of bottled water, sports drinks and diet soft drinks, and the introduction of thousands of new non-alcoholic beverages into the U.S. last year, as examples of how the industry continues to change and follow its consumers. Single-serve bottled water sales increased 21.5%, and single-serve sports drinks sales increased by 17.9% in 2003. The growth of diet soft drinks has increased for the last four years, and the category now represents 27.4% of all carbonated soft drinks sold in the United States. According to Mintel's Global New Products Database, more than 5,200 new ready-to-drink, non-alcoholic beverages were introduced in the U.S. in 2003 alone.

"From organic green tea and fortified orange juice, to low-carb soft drinks and vitamin water, our member companies have provided consumers with an explosion of beverage choices, and we decided to change our name to better communicate that," Ball said. "Consumer demand for more choices has spawned what some are calling a 'bevolution.'"