Iconic cordial drink may no longer be a favourite in Australian homes

Apr 6, 2016 at 3:25 p.m. ET
Image: So1/Getty Images

Many of us grew up drinking Cottee's cordial. When it launched in 1927, the brand quickly became a household favourite, and just thinking of it often conjures up images of childhood — opening the fridge after school to find a cool Cottee's cordial that could quench your thirst like no other; creating ice lollies with the the Cola flavoured cordial — but times are changing, and the iconic brand is reportedly coming to an end.

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Data from Nielsen Homescan shows that cordial sales in Australia have declined rapidly, and in the 12 months to October 2015 cordial sales had already declined by 5.8 percent in value, and 11.2 percent by volume, marking a significant difference from the previous year, News.com.au reports.

Cordial is also reportedly losing favour with households: with a drop from 56.1 percent in 2014 and 58.7 percent in 2013. According to the publication, cordial penetration is now at 53.7 percent — and it's the younger shoppers who are turning away.

"The lost cordial shoppers are more likely to be under 35 when compared to average cordial shopper," said a Nielsen spokeswoman.

Over the years, shoppers have become more health conscious and choosing to forgo the sugar-laden drinks in favour of healthier options. Retailers like Coles and Woolworths have been cutting back shelf space for cordials in favour of low-sugar and sugar-free options, Daily Mail reports. But there are some people who are thrilled about this news: dieticians.

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Dietician Dr. Joanna McMillan commented on the shift in consumer patterns, saying, "We've got people who are now adults and parents themselves who had cordial when they were kids... If under-35s are stopping, that does show the message around sugar-sweetened drinks is getting through."

With processed foods and fizzy drinks already such a staple part of many people's diets, we consume excessive amounts of sugar without even realizing it, and Dr. McMillan revealed that this is often the case with syrupy drinks like cordials.

She added, "People don't realise just how much sugar they're adding even with just a splash of cordial... Because it's so concentrated, even a small amount is the same as a sugar-sweetened soft drink."

People have taken to social media to share their views on the collapse of the brand and reflect on their childhood memories.




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It's clear that there are some who are sad to see the brand go, but this once again reinforces how much our views on health have changed over the years, and how the message about sugar-laden drinks is being driven home.

The official word from the Cottee's camp is that these reports have been greatly over-exaggerated. A spokeswoman for Schweppes said Cottee's made a statement on Wednesday afternoon revealing that the brand had been around for almost 90 years and that they "plan on being around much longer to provide the cordials that Aussies know and love."

She then revealed that Cottee's is still making cordials and has "no plans to stop being Australia's number one cordial" and currently holds the majority of mainstream sales with "almost six out of every 10 glasses of mainstream cordial enjoyed by Australians."

"We appreciate the loyalty of our Aussie consumers and thank them for getting behind the brand and sharing their overwhelmingly positive comments. We are committed to this iconic brand and continuing to invest behind Cottee's cordials."