The evolving U.S. refreshment beverage market enlarged by 1.3% in 2007, according to Beverage Marketing Corporation. During the first several years of the 21stcentury, newer beverage categories have been principally responsible for what growth has occurred in the non-alcoholic marketplace, and this remained the case in 2007. Energy drinks, bottled water, ready-to-drink teas and enhanced or functional beverages have seen significant – often astronomical – growth rates, while more established and familiar product types have languished. Although conventional carbonated soft drinks remain the most popular category on a volume basis, an array of offerings representing innovation, variety and novelty have changed the face of the U.S. beverage market in recent years.
Carbonated soft drink trademarks held four of the top ten positions in the rankings of categories by volume. Those brands were joined by two bottled water trademarks, two fruit beverage trademarks and one sports drink. The leading sports drink in the United States now stands as the fifth biggest liquid refreshment beverage brand, and bottled water brands continue to raise their profiles.
Refreshment beverage category developments ranged from the exceptionally vigorous growth of energy drinks to the comparatively unimpressive performance of fruit beverages and carbonated soft drinks. Bottled water’s growth continued, albeit at a slower pace than in previous years, but the small energy drink segment outperformed all other categories. Boundaries between beverage categories continued to blur. For instance, flavored and enhanced waters combine elements of bottled water with features characterizing energy drinks and fortified fruit juices. The distinction between carbonated and not-carbonated beverages appears to have lost meaning for consumers, who now choose from a wide range of beverage types to meet a variety of need states.
Total Pepsi liquid refreshment beverage volume was essentially unchanged in 2007. However, the non-carbonated portion of its profile enlarged by 4.2% during the year. Similarly, total Cadbury Schweppes dipped slightly as only non-carbs contributed upward movement. Coca-Cola’s still beverage volume, bolstered by the acquisition of the Glaceau brands, was especially vibrant, up by 8%, while the sparkling segment followed the downward tendency set by carbonated soft drinks generally.
The big companies have the leading refreshment beverage trademarks; Pepsi-Cola (with five brands), Coca-Cola (with four) and Cadbury Schweppes (with one) account for all of the top-ten trademarks. Aquafina and Gatorade (from Pepsi) and Dasani (from Coke) were the fastest growing leading trademarks, as they had been in the previous year as well. The Coca-Cola trademark (including all brand variations) held the top spot among liquid refreshment beverages. However, its volume, like the standard carbonated soft drink market as a whole, declined.
Although carbonated soft drinks maintained a high profile, accounting for almost half of total liquid refreshment beverage volume, other types of beverages are more successfully tapping into the spirit of the times, which is characterized by a greater emphasis on enhanced, functional, healthy products.
“One size does not fit all in today’s beverage marketplace,” said Michael C. Bellas, chairman and CEO, Beverage Marketing Corporation. “Consumers now want different beverages at different times and for different reasons, whether it’s an energy boost during the work day or reinvigoration after a work out. Functional and enhanced beverages are growing considerably faster than conventional refreshment beverages – and will continue to do so moving forward.”
Several of the leading non-carbonated liquid refreshment beverages, all of which are owned by the major soft drink companies, enjoyed exceptionally strong growth in 2007. Gatorade (including the new G2 line extension) grew modestly, but Propel, the enhanced water line associated with the trademark, enjoyed particularly forceful growth. Propel volume enlarged by 16%. Pepsi’s Aquafina – the eighth largest liquid refreshment brand – increased at the same rate as the bottled water segment itself, while Coca-Cola’s Dasani – the number-nine trademark – grew at an even faster rate. Mountain Dew did not decline in 2007, making the Pepsi brand a rare exception among leading carbonated soft drinks. A Mountain Dew spin-off, the energy drink Amp, enlarged at an even faster clip than the fast-moving energy drink segment itself. While energy drink volume swelled by almost 25%, Mountain Dew Amp advanced at a rate roughly three times quicker. Coca-Cola’s Full Throttle also outperformed the energy drink segment in 2007.
As both carbonated soft and fruit beverage volume declined in 2007, several non-carbonated beverages experienced strong growth. Flavored and enhanced waters were the segment with the highest growth rate in 2007, but energy drinks also registered double-digit percentage rate growth during the year, as did ready-to-drink tea. Lipton Iced Tea (Pepsi) enjoyed very strong growth during the year. Bottled water (excluding flavored and enhanced variants) further solidified its position as the number-two beverage category in the U.S. market, with volume in excess of 8.8 billion gallons in 2007.
New York City-basedBeverage Marketing Corporationis the leading research, consulting and financial services firm dedicated to the global beverage industry.