Softdrinks History

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Agri-Food Trade Service

Softdrinks Industry: Another Side of a Filipino's Beverage Life1


Ditas R. Macabasco
Agribusiness Specialist
Center for Food and Agri Business
University of Asia and the Pacific
Softdrinks, also known as carbonated drinks, cola, soda or pop, is one of the most consumed beverages in the country. Prior to the introduction of bottled water, ready-to-drink teas, ready-to-drink fruit juices, and other functional drinks, it was the usual choice of Filipino consumers in many parts of the country.

Industry Definition

A pending bill in Congress (House Bill 5039) defined carbonated drinks as “aerated potable water, whether or not it contains added sugar or other flavor sweeteners, and non-alcoholic beverages which are charged under pressure with carbon dioxide gas and are sold in bottles and other air-tight containers.” Just like other beverages, softdrinks are a popular thirst quencher in the country.


Total household spending on non-alcoholic beverages reached P33.3 billion in 2006 based on the latest Family Income and Expenditure Survey of the National Statistics Office. The figure was higher by 2.9% per year from P30.6 billion in 2003. In inflation-adjusted terms, expenditure grew by 7.4% per annum during the period. The bulk of the spending may be attributed to softdrinks. Meanwhile, the total size of the softdrinks market in the country was estimated at 8,591 million liters in 2007, with projected growth of 7.6% in 2008 to 9,241 million liters (

The Players

The softdrinks industry in the country consists of a handful of players. The market leader is Coca Cola, followed by Pepsi. The other smaller players include Virgin Cola, Zesto, and RC Cola. Coca Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. (CCBPI) is now 100%-owned by The Coca Cola Company. The latter bought the entire 65% stake of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) in CCBPI in 2007 for US$590 million. The acquisition includes low-end softdrinks manufacturer Cosmos Bottling Corporation (CBC), which was acquired by SMC back in 2002, as well as Philippine Beverage Partners, Inc., the company which distributes the products. Today, the company's carbonated brands in the market include Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Sprite Light, and Royal, and CBC brands Pop Cola, Sarsi, Cheers, Lift, Jaz Cola, and Sparkle. Another player is Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Inc. (PCPPI) which is 32.9% owned by PepsiCo. PCPPI's brands in the market include Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Light, Pepsi Max, 7Up, Diet 7Up, Mountain Dew, Jazz, Mirinda, and Mug. The company went public early this year, the proceeds from which are intended mainly for expansion of its carbonated and non-carbonated beverages. Also in the softdrinks business is Interbev Corporation, a subsidiary of beer company Asia Brewery Inc., which managed to secure a licensing agreement for Virgin Cola, a popular British brand, in 2004. Virgin Cola comes in four variants: regular, diet, lemon and lime. It competes with lower-priced brands in the market like Pop Cola, RC Cola and Jazz. Juice company Zesto Corporation has also entered the softdrinks market via Zesto Cola in 1994. Its product “challenged the market leaders in terms of taste, refreshing qualities and price.” Zesto has since diversified its carbonated drinks line to include Zesto Cola Zero Cal, Rootbeer, Rootbeer Light, Twist, Squiz Orange, Squiz Grape, Dalandan Fruit Soda, Calamansi Fruit Soda, and Pomelo Fruit Soda. Yet another player is Asiawide Refreshments Corporation, which is the Philippines' licensed bottling manufacturer and distributor of US brand RC Cola. The product is among the relatively low-priced brands in the local market. |Table 1. SOFTDRINKS: Key Industry Players | |Company |Brands | |Coca...
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