Consumers are increasingly turning away from smoothies and bottled water in favour of cheaper soft drinks, new figures have confirmed, although sales of cola continue to strengthen.

Nielsen figures in the latest Britvic Soft Drinks Report show the UK smoothie market shrunk by a fifth (20%) to £172m, while bottled water sales fell by 9% to £417m. Sales of cola, by contrast, increased by 4% to £1.29bn, with Pepsi Max showing growth of 20% over the year.

“Over the last six months the economic impact has certainly hit,” said Britvic chief executive Paul Moody.

“Many consumers have decided that tap water is good enough to drink at home, rather than buying lots of bottles of the stuff. Smoothies are a relatively high price-point for a single bottle. And we've seen some switching from smoothies to normal fruit juice.”

He added: “Consumers are working through their budgets and they are returning to drinks and brands they know and enjoy.”

News of the fall-off in sales of smoothies comes in the week Coca-Cola was linked with an approach for Innocent Drinks, which has suffered in the downturn despite remaining the dominant brand in the domestic smoothie market.

See tomorrow's edition of The Grocer for more details in our latest bottled water feature.