The demand in the Japanese soft drink industry in 2014 was estimated slightly lower than in the previous year, reflecting factors such as impact from unseasonable weather in summer and a delayed recovery in consumer sentiment after the consumption tax hike, according to Suntory Beverage & Food Limited (SBF).
Meanwhile, the company posted a year-on-year growth in sales volume owing to the nurturing and strengthening of core brands and the cultivation of new demand.
This reflects the SBF concept of proposing distinctive, high-quality products that satisfy the preferences and needs of consumers to deliver products that offer an abundant richness to the lives of consumers.
Among its brands, the company is positioning Suntory Tennensui (mineral water) as a key brand of its business in Japan.
SBF recorded a sales volume increase of 11% in contrast with the previous year, reflecting aggressive marketing activities and the development of new brand categories.
Brisk demand for Suntory Minami-Alps
Tennensui Sparkling, Suntory Minami-Alps Tennensui Sparkling Lemon, and the flavored water market was propelled by favorable demand for Suntory Minami-Alps Tennensui and Asa-zumi Orange, which contains natural ingredients.
The same held true for the BOSS brand of canned coffee.
Despite estimates that sales in the canned coffee market would slightly decline from the previous year, sales volume of BOSS brand canned coffees rose 6% compared with a year earlier owing to aggressively marketing carried out throughout the year.
In addition to solid sales of the four core products in the BOSS coffee range (BOSS Rainbow Mountain
Blend, BOSS Zeitaku Bito, BOSS Muto Black, and BOSS Café au Lait), sales were very favorable for PREMIUM BOSS, which was released in September 2014.
PREMIUM BOSS is produced using a fine grain coffee beans created by a new 1production method.
In addition, SBF strengthened the positioning of BOSS by enhancing its sales promotion activities in the growing bottle-shaped canned coffee market.
Furthermore, Iyemon Tokucha, a food for specified health uses (FOSHU) drink product, received the support of many consumers given that it offers value both in the form of good flavor and health functions.
Only in its second year on the market, demand for Iyemon Tokucha has grown extensively, exceeding sales of 12 million cases a year.
Reflecting these and other activities the company implemented during the year, it recorded sales volume of 415 million cases, 0% growth from a year earlier, marking its 22nd consecutive year of year-on-year growth, in its business in Japan.
For core brands, SBF plans to continue to carry out product development that offers new value to consumers and also aims to fortify marketing activities this year.
In particular, the company looks to enhance its brand strength, mainly for Suntory Tennensui, BOSS canned coffees, and FOSHU drink products.
The company plans to change tracks and actively tackle the challenge of developing products in completely new categories.
It also aims to further strengthen measures to offer small-size format products, including 500ml PET bottles and bottle-shaped cans owing to changes in soft drink intake patterns among consumers.
These activities should facilitate the nurturing and strengthening of SBF brands as well as the creation of novel products through innovations in various fields in addition to technology.
This will then set off a positive chain reaction that should further boost brand value.
To carry this out, SBF plans to actively invest in research and development, brand marketing, and production facilities in the medium-to-long term.