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Beverage-makers focusing on fizzy drinks for adults

JIJI

Ahead of summer, and in a bid to expand the range of customers in a market that has shown little growth due to the falling birthrate, beverage-makers have launched a series of carbonated drinks targeted at grown-ups.

The companies are playing up health and luxury as key features of their new products in their effort to change the image of fizzy drinks as high-calorie beverages for children.

Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. pioneered carbonated drinks for grown-ups with Orangina, which gained popularity thanks to the stylish image of France, the product’s birthplace.

Lemongina, to be released later this month as a sister product of Orangina, features the slightly bitter taste of lemon rind.

Pokka Sapporo Food & Beverage Ltd.’s lemon squash premium contains pureed flesh of lemons grown in Italy. The product recall the image of lemon squash served at a cafe, a spokesman for Pokka Sapporo said.

In January, Asahi Soft Drinks Co. launched a Mitsuya Cider product using domestically grown yuzu citron, following the release of a version flavored with ume (Japanese plums).

As beer consumption declines, a growing number of adults are choosing nonalcoholic fizzy drinks, an Asahi Soft Drinks official said.

Beverage-makers are also paying greater attention to what health-conscious consumers want to drink.

A senior official at a major beverage maker expects demand for carbonated beverages that are just sweet to fall globally, as indicated by the deteriorating earnings of Coca-Cola Co.

Coca-Cola Life, released by Coca-Cola (Japan) Co. this month, uses a plant-derived sweetener and has half the calorie of regular coke.

Kirin Beverage Co. launched Mets Grape and Mets Orange this month after cutting calories from a Mets series product released earlier by about 70 percent.