Media Statement

16 October, 2015


New figures released today by the ABS shows consumption of soft drinks continues to decline.

Geoff Parker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council says: “The ABS data released today very clearly shows that the way Australians are consuming beverages is changing. Australians are drinking fewer soft drinks as water consumption increases.

“While the landscape of what Australians are consuming is shifting, the ABS figures highlight the need to further educate the highest consumers of sugar sweetened beverages.There is also an opportunity to engage with stakeholders and Government around targeted programs for lower socio-economic groups, where it is clearly more challenging to ensure the message of a balanced diet is making a difference.

“Amongst children, the average intake for soft drinks and flavoured waters has noticeably decreased since 1995 and there has been a small decrease in average intake amongst adults. In fact, recent independent research also showed between 1997 and 2011 sugar contribution from carbonated soft drinks dropped by around a quarter (26%) for each person as consumers switched from sugar to non-sugar varieties.[1]

“What is quite surprising is that comparable research shows us discretionary, or ‘treat’ food and drinks make up over a third of the energy intake in an adults diet and 42% in children’s. For children, the discretionary choices that contribute the most to total dietary energy are confectionery / chocolates (17%), sweet biscuits (16%) and chips (11%). Soft drinks provide just 4% of discretionary kilojoules.[2]

“The fact that three of the four biggest selling soft drinks in Australia are low or no kilojoule shows that manufacturers and the beverages industry are already taking significant action through innovation, reformulation and increasing the availability of smaller pack sizes, to provide consumers with more choices around a healthy lifestyle.”

“Discussion around the role of beverages in the Australian diet needs to move away from a singular focus on sugar when it comes to the causes of obesity and instead look at the impact of total diet, including ‘treat’ foods,” concludes Parker.


For more information contact:

Geoff Parker, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council, M: 0407 646 195

[1] Levy G.S., Shrapnel W.S. (2014) Quenching Australia’s thirst: a trend analysis of water-based beverage sales from 1997 to 2011. Nutrition & Dietetics. doi: 10.1111/1747-0080.12108.
[2] Secondary analysis of non-alcoholic beverage consumption from the Australian National Health Survey, commissioned by the Australian Beverages Council and undertaken by the CSIRO
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