Cheaper gas prices continue to drive strong sales of non-alcoholic beverages in the convenience store channel, according to findings from a new Wells Fargo Securities “Beverage Buzz” survey. Surveying retailers who represent over 15,000 convenience stores nationwide, the report found dollar sales of non-alcoholic beverages in C-stores were up 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2015. Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog, who authored the report, expects mid-single digit growth to continue throughout 2015 as does a survey respondent who projected “a banner year for the beverage industry.”
Monster Beverage saw its C-store volume grow 9 percent in the quarter, with company-funded promotions contributing to flat increase in pricing. As she has in earlier reports, Herzog warned of the possibility of Monster experiencing some growing pains as the company transitions its distribution over to the Coca-Cola system but even so, the analyst remained bullish on the company’s overall outlook, writing “we continue to believe that [Monster] is well positioned to drive substantial growth through its innovation and international expansion.”
Speaking of Coca-Cola, the company’s volumes were up 4.1 percent for the quarter with a 2.5 percent pricing increase. The growth was credited to package innovation and strong performance from Smartwater. Similarly, PepsiCo’s volumes were also up 4.1 percent with a 2.2 percent rise in pricing. PepsiCo’s bump also came from outside its flagship brand, with Gatorade and Mountain Dew Kickstart seeing success.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group lagged a bit behind, putting up a humble 0.6 percent increase in volume though retailers were encouraged by the performance of DPS-distributed brands like Bai and Vita Coco. Encouraged by the continued development of Bai, DPS recently purchased a 3 percent stake of the company, which markets still and sparkling lines of its coffeefruit-infused beverages.