The Philippines drinks market

Der Getränkemarkt der Philippinen im Überblick
© Pixabay

According to the Asian Development Bank, the Philippines is facing a severe recession this year as a result of the pandemic. Years of stable economic growth of around 6.4per cent up until 2017 have been followed by a 7.3 percent fall in GDP in 2020. But the country’s economy should be back on track next year. Here, we examine what the current economic situation, the tax on sugary drinks introduced in 2018 and the coronavirus pandemic mean for the Philippines drinks industry.

Economic facts on the Philippines

The Philippines is one of the emerging economic nations in South-East Asia, although the gap between rich and poor is still very wide. There is also a strong north-south divide as development, modernity and economic activity are concentrated on the island of Luzon, while those in southern Mindanao are often poor by comparison and make their living through farming.

The service sector is the main force that drives the economy, contributing around 60 percent of total GDP made up for example by telephone services for the US market, software development, online services and tourism. The manufacturing industry makes up 30 percent, followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Philippines drinks market and PET

There is one thing that has remained constant in the Philippines drinks market: Carbonated soft drinks (CSD) are still way out in front when it comes to consumption of non-alcoholic drinks. According to a report by Euromonitor in late June, CSD sales in 2019 comprised 4.86 billion liters, followed by bottled water (in < 8 l packs) which comprised 2.86 billion liters.

Consumption of water is increasing as are non-CSDs, albeit on a smaller scale. Along with new market products and taste varieties, the industry reacted to the introduction of the sugar tax in 2018 by downsizing product content to minimise sugar tax impact, using different ingredients and producing healthier drinks which created markets in nearly every area. And these are almost literally catching on with customers. Changes in consumer trends in favour of online shopping, together with the building of new retail channels such as modern supermarkets, convenience stores and shops outside cities are ensuring ever-increasing outreach to the general population.

RTD teas and coffees in the Philippines are almost exclusively provided with PET, for example 95 percent and 91 percent respectively. It is worth drawing attention here to the impressive 17 percent growth in PET used for RTD coffee.

According to a Euromonitor forecast for the rest of this year, there will only be a slight change in consumption of all non-alcoholic drinks. In terms of growth figures for individual drinks ranges this means a modest decline in CSDs, bottled water, ready-to-drink (RTD) tea, sports and soy drinks. Consumption of energy drinks is expected to remain at a steady level, with RTD coffee likely to increase by a few percentage points.

The reusable glass bottle is still a firmly established feature in the Philippines unlike in many other countries. For CSDs in particular it is expected to have a 66 percent share of the packaging market in 2020, ahead of PET with 31 percent. However, according to Euromonitor, this could change again in favour of the PET bottle at some point as use of PET is anticipated to grow by 11 percent. For the water market, 98 percent is in plastics packaging which is mostly PET and 2 percent in glass. Here, the increase in PET use would be 12 percent and 9 percent for glass.

Covid-19 and consumer behaviour

© unsplash / Francesco Gallarotti

Covid-19 and consumer behaviour

A comparison of the development in bottle sizes shows that despite the pandemic and with more and more time being spent at home, single-serve sizes are still an attractive option for consumers. The 300 ml bottle introduced by Coca-Cola Femsa and Pepsi-Cola leads the way with a massive 67 percent of the CSD market as popularity of this size continues to grow.

The number of 1.5 l bottles is also on the rise here. “We can say that while numbers of 0.5 l bottles are not really growing, the same cannot be said for the 300 ml and 1.5 l varieties which are on the up. Smaller sizes such as 250 ml for RTD coffee and 230 ml for RTD tea are also increasing and in line with this trend. This will also help us to determine whether there is a pandemic-related trend for larger bottle sizes for longer drinking times.

With long-term temperature rises, more and more consumers are feeling the need to stay hydrated when on the go, which also explains the continuing success of smaller bottle sizes”, said Romano Reyes, Husky Injection Moulding’s Regional Manager for Rigid Packaging in the Philippines.

You will learn more about the Philippine or other beverage industries at drinktec, which will be held from September 12 to 16, 2022, in Munich. Would you also like to showcase your innovations in this area? Join us at the next drinktec.

Kay Barton

For 13 years, Kay Barton has been with the beverage and PET expert platform PETplanet, including as a specialist Editor in 2014. His focus is classic on-site reporting and producing podcasts at beverage producers, PET bottle manufacturers, as well as machine builders and peripheral suppliers worldwide. In addition, he plans and conducts specialist congresses, discussion forums and symposia for PETplanet.