And while the category may be maturing in the US, it is very much in the growth stage of its lifecycle in the rest of the world.
Canadean therefore predicts that the category is destined for a long period of sustained growth.
This is partly because the sectors image as being made up of cheap, low quality drinks targeting children is rapidly being shed. High quality premium brands from small companies and from the major players have been firmly established in the marketplace.
The success of these brands means that the still drinks category has the most to gain from the slowing demand for carbonated soft drinks, and Canadean argues that this is beginning to be felt. Last year saw an impressive 5.5 per cent jump in sales, to take the market to a size of nearly 32 billion litres.
Growth has now averaged 5 per cent over the past six years and the market is expected to expand by more than 4 billion litres by the end of 2008.
In contrast, the carbonates category has been more sluggish, averaging just 2 per cent growth between 1999 and 2005, with a compound average growth rate of just 1 per cent expected by the end of 2008.
In size however, the two categories do not compare, with carbonates accounting for a massive 194 billion litres, six times that of the still drinks market. And despite the differing growth rates, in actual volume terms the carbonates category will have added more than 7billion litres by the end of 2008.
It is a long way for still drinks to catch up, but Slovenia has shown that it is possible. Still drinks overtook carbonates consumption back in 2003 and the category has pushed carbonates into the third place in soft drink category rankings.
With the exception of the tiny Australasian region, Canadean says that Asia is the fastest growing and the largest volume region; growing at 8 per cent in 2005, and being responsible for more than 40 per cent of the world's still drink sales.
The region is being helped along by the huge Chinese market, which is registering annual growth well in excess of 10 per cent and has been recently buoyed by the success of vitamin drinks. In Asia, in general, still drinks are competitively priced and in a price sensitive market they should go on and make future gains.
But despite the Slovenian example, Canadean says that it is unlikely that still drinks will ever overtake carbonates on a global scale. However, the still drinks category is very well positioned to attract the consumers lost from the carbonates category and its share of throat is set to expand significantly.
The Canadean definition of the still drinks category includes ready-to-drink fruit or non-fruit based still drinks with a juice content typically lower than 25 per cent. Sweetened flavoured waters are also included.
The 2005 Global Still Drinks Report from Canadean analyses the market by region, segment, pack mix, distribution channel, pricing and leading companies and includes forecasts.