Beverage Category Growth and Decline for 2010

Just scouring through some newsfeeds these past few weeks, and came across a BevNet article (link here) sourcing Beverage Digest on the beverage industry’s growth and decline.  The article is general and talks about the North American landscape, which normally focuses more on the United States than Canada.  The main point of the article hints at consumers shifting their interests away from CSDs (Carbonated Soft Drinks), where there has been decline in the past two years.  The only growth seen is within the diet CSD beverages.  After seeing that post, BevWire found some Nielsen statistics relating to the Canadian beverage industry and compares how Canadian consumers fare to the rest of North America.

Carbonated Soft Drinks (CSD) as a category saw decline in overall volume, but diet beverages grew.  In the last year, regular CSDs sold 1.6 billion cases less than the previous year while diet CSDs sold 4.4 billion cases more during the same time frame.  These numbers represent a 0.2% decline in regular soft drinks, and a 1.1% increase for diet products.  It’s also interesting to note that while regular cola beverages shrank 1.6 billion cases, the dollar value did grow.  Regular CSDs saw total dollars increase over 5%, while diet total dollars increased 7%.

So what does this mean?  This means that even though less soft drinks were being sold, prices were increased to soften the losses.  1.6 billion less regular soft drink cases were sold, yet total dollars increased 5%.  And diet products are becoming more of a popular choice for consumers, where diet soft drinks now represent over 37% of the total CSD market (compared to the United States where it is 30%) .

If beverages are not growing for CSDs, where have all the growth gone?  After all, people do have to drink something, right?  Well, the numbers seem to indicate that healthier options are the preferred choices now.  Juices and juice drinks demands (ie. Minute Maid, Tropicana and Dole juices) have increased dramatically this past year, where sales have increased dramatically.  Think this has anything to do with Sobe re-launching their juice drinks, or Fuze releasing a few more new flavors?

Surprisingly enough, the diet trend extends across to other beverage options.  While energy drinks are now on a slower increasing rate (and some other reports have it actually shrinking in the market), diet energy drinks did grow.  So no matter what the consumer is looking for – energy drinks, soft drinks, juices – they are looking for more healthier alternatives that have less calories.

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