Pandemic turns soft drink market tepid in Goa


Usually, the summer season in Goa sees rise in the demand for soft drinks. However this year’s summer is different due to the pandemic and there is hardly any sale of soft drinks, reports Bhiva P Parab

Despite the summer season at its peak in Goa, the soft drinks and bottled mineral water sales has not got any uplift this year due to the pandemic. The state recorded temperature 2-4 degrees Celsius above normal in the last around 70 days and since around beginning of March, Goans are feeling the heat. This usually increases the demand for soft drinks and bottled mineral water, however with the lockdown in place and the fear of coronavirus consumption of colas and soft drinks has dropped considerably.

  As the summer season progresses in the state and it is becomes hotter and the hotter more consumers reach out for soft drinks and bottled mineral water. This year the seasonal boost to the market is not the same as some people are abstaining from drinking soft drinks and preferring to drink hot or normal water.

  Sales of soft drinks this time of the year rises in tandem with the temperature. Local retailers and  hotels in the state usually report higher sales and around 50 percent of the total sales during the year happens during the summer season.

  However ground level information reveals that, good sale of soft drinks took place only in the beginning of March while in April, sales plummeted to the lowest.

  “From March the climate in Goa changes and the temperature increases. In warmer weather it is even more important to ensure that soft drinks, bottled mineral water are kept chilled and readily available as chilled availability is the key driver for soft drinks sales, water sales. “However there is hardly any sales this year. We hope with the gradual lifting of the lockdown the sales increases at least now,” said a trader.

  Summer sales are very important to soft drink and fruit juice manufacturers. New flavours are launched during the summer months and supply is ramped up to meet the demand. In Goa sales spurt due to increased buying by residents as well as purchases by tourists. “Due to the pandemic there are no tourists, events are wedding functions are cancelled. It has affected the sales of soft drinks drastically,” said a trader.

  The cost of the cold drinks differs in various markets according to the brands. The food industry does not work on market per se. People may economise on clothing and household goods but they always have money for food especially soft drinks and bottled mineral water to quench their thirst. Along with carbonated drinks like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, juices and energy drinks like Real, Frooti, Rio and Red Bull are also in high demand. Imported soft drinks sold in the market come from various countries and the energy drinks usually come in 250 ml cans and prices start from

Rs 25 upwards.

   A shop owner said that soft drink sales are steady throughout the year. But summer is special as companies introduce new drinks. We face a dearth of space to display various varieties during the summer. “This summer is different. We have hardly seen any sale,” said the sad shop owner.

According to the information available from the sources, sales of all kinds of carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks decreased sharply of late in the state. A vendor along the coastal belt said, “The number of people visiting my stall has decreased as tourism has come to a standstill. Sometimes the number of consumers per day does not even cross five, giving me hardly any business.”

The soft drink market in Goa runs into crores. The variety of drinks available in road-side kiosks, small grocery shops, department stores, etc is huge. Coke and Pepsi are carbonated drinks, juices and powdered drinks like Tang are non-carbonated and then there are different types of chilled beverages and instant ready-to-drink items in tetra packs, pet bottles, small bottles and cans.

Soft drinks have a strong seasonality curve in the state and business is boosted by warm climate. According to local retailers big companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are aggressively expanding their base in rural areas along with urban pockets. However this year the summer seasonality curve has flattened due to the pandemic.

According to the information available from the sources, bottled water is a runaway success in the summer and traders look to capitalise on this. This year however, the bottled water market has also taken a beating as there are no weddings and functions. This year’s summer season has not given good business and the vendors hope that the situation normalizes and

sales get a boost.