Aim: To describe trends in purchasing patterns of non-alcoholic, water-based beverages (WBBs) in Australia, 1997–2006. Methods: Trends in volume sales of WBBs were determined from data supplied by the Australian beverage industry, not including fruit juice or milk-based drinks. Change was calculated as per cent difference between 1997 and 2006, volume share by proportion of total sales in the category and per capita consumption by dividing total volume sales by population estimate for that year. Sugar supply from WBBs was calculated by multiplying sales by sugar content. Demographic trends from AC Nielsen surveys were shown as per cent households purchasing beverages and as volume share by age and sex. Results: Total volume sales of WBBs increased by 13% from 1997 to 2006, largely accounted for by increases in sales of plain still water and non-sugar carbonated soft drink (CSD). Sales in the CSD category saw a shift away from sugar-sweetened to non-sugar. There was a concomitant increase in sales of sugar-sweetened sports and energy drinks, and iced tea. Younger people and high-income households were the major purchasers of CSDs, and for sports and energy drinks, it was young males. Conclusion: The increased sales of beverages by 2006 appear to reflect a greater trend towards purchasing fluids, particularly increases in bottled water and non-sugar CSDs. Sugar supply from beverages has declined, mostly because of decreasing sales of sugar-sweetened CSDs since 2002. Industry-generated data proved useful in forming a picture of apparent non-alcoholic, WBB consumption patterns in Australia.
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