Nielsen Numbers: Diet’s Demise Sees CSD Sales Slide

imagesEven as The Coca-Cola Company beat analysts’ expectations upon posting its second quarter results Wednesday, carbonated soft drinks continue to struggle. According to a recent analyst report from Cowen and Company covering Nielsen xAOC (expanded all outlets combined) sales data, CSD volumes were down 4.7 percent in the four-week period ending July 11. In the past, the category has been able to still post dollar sales gains despite volume declines by way of pricing initiatives, however for the second straight month it wasn’t enough to get them out of the red: dollar sales of CSDs were down 1.1 percent for the period.

Much of the blame can be placed on the continued demise of diet sodas, whose decline in consumption has outpaced that of its sugary counterparts. Regular CSDs posted a .6 percent increase in dollar sales for the period, but were offset by the 5.5 percent fall in the diet sector. Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent acknowledged the now decade-long downfall of Diet when reporting Diet Coke’s 7 percent decline in volume sales for the quarter, calling it a “challenge,” but one that was “very much a U.S.-centric one.”

Elsewhere, dollar sales of energy drinks rose 9.8 percent for the four-week period, accompanying volume growth of 8.6 percent. Bottled water saw a 5.1 percent increase in dollar sales, powered powered by strong performances from PepsiCo’s Aquafina and Propel. Ready-to-drink tea put up solid numbers as well, albeit slightly less so than in previous months, with volumes up 2 percent and dollar sales 6.3 percent.