In 2010, PepsiCo shook up the soft drinks industry when it pledged to make 65% of its carbonated soft drinks sugar-free by 2012.

Kate Woolf, media relations manager, PepsiCo UK & Ireland, says the company has made "significant progress" towards achieving this target, not least through the decision to focus its marketing on sugar-free offering Pepsi Max which, with 19.9% sales growth, was the fastest-growing cola in the UK market in 2010 [IRI 52w/e 22 Jan 2011].

Pepsi bottler and distributor Britvic is also playing its part in driving growth of better-for-you products. In 2010, it moved its 500ml low sugar/sugar-free variants of Pepsi and 7UP into 600ml bottles at the same price point, providing a 20% extra benefit for the consumer on a healthier product.

Nisa-Today's soft drinks buyer Peter Hindmarsh describes it as "one of the best innovations in the soft drinks category in 2010".

Woolf does not believe voluntary actions such as PepsiCo's will be sufficient to ward off government action on sugary soft drinks, but she is confident that PepsiCo's voluntary measures leave it strongly positioned to prosper in a stricter regulatory environment.

"It is highly probable that the government will eventually enforce regulations to reduce the amount of sugar in soft drinks, but at PepsiCo we are already ahead of the curve in terms of reformulating our products to provide consumers with healthier options," she says.

Suppliers agree that health remains one of the key consumer trends in the marketplace. Everywhere you look, moves are being made to bring sugar-free variants to the market and remove artificial colours and flavourings from existing SKUs. While manufacturers of existing drinks are busy adapting them, the health agenda has also opened the door to entirely new soft drinks propositions.

Vita Coco Coconut Water has only been in the UK for two years but is already a £4.3m brand in the UK, according to UK distributor Giles Brook. The product uses only one ingredient fresh coconut water and contains 20 times more potassium than leading sports drinks, according to Brook, who describes Vita Coco as a "lifestyle brand based around nutrition and hydration".

Focus On Soft Drinks