BY MARY TABION
Thirsty consumers face a growing number of options in supermarket shelves and convenience store coolers. While carbonates accounted for over 50 percent of total volume sales of soft drinks in Latin America in 2006, sales growth of products like functional drinks and bottled water far outpaced colas and other carbonates. Nutrition and functionality increasingly have begun to enter into soft drink purchase decisions, which traditionally focused on flavor and price. With impulse sales on the rise, single-serving plastic bottles and aseptic brick packaging gained a stronger presence across the region. Consumption of soft drinks is shifting away from family meals in the home to workplace, school, as well as restaurants and bars.