Morgan Stanley: CSD Pricing Slows, But Remains Competitive

Despite the category’s decline amid growing trends of health and wellness, pricing of carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) slowed, but remains competitive, according to a consumer price index (CPI) report released by Morgan Stanley.

Tracking beverage data for October 2012, Morgan Stanley found that CSD pricing grew by only 0.3 percent, well below September’s growth of 1.5 percent and the trailing twelve month (TTM) average of 2.7 percent. Further highlighting CSD deceleration, the report noted that the CPI of all consumer items increased 2.2 percent, up from September’s growth of 2 percent and the TTM growth of 2.4 percent.

Juices and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers, however, appear to be taking a conservative route in terms of pricing. The category’s CPI grew just 0.1 percent, mirroring that of August, but down from September’s growth of 1.1 percent. The CPI of non-frozen, non-carbonated juices and drinks fell 0.1 percent, akin to August’s 0.1 percent decline but down from September’s 0.9 percent increase.

In comparison, alcohol pricing remains fairly steady. Overall, the CPI of alcoholic beverages grew 1.5 percent, down from September’s growth of 1.7 percent and the smallest increase since December 2011’s 1.4 percent. The CPI of off-premise alcoholic beverages grew 0.5 percent, down from September’s growth of 1 percent and the lowest increase since April’s growth of 0.4 percent.  The report found that the CPI of off-premise beer, ale and other malt beverages rose by 0.9 percent, down from September’s growth of 1.7 percent and the lowest increase since the 0.9 percent rise in August 2011.

The CPI of on-premise alcoholic beverages grew 3 percent, up from September’s 2.7 percent increase and the highest increase since June’s 3.2 percent. The CPI of on-premise beer, ale and other malt beverages increased 2.2 percent, up from September’s 1.9 and the highest increase since prices averaged a bump of 2.5 percent in October 2011.