Nielsen: CSDs, Sparkling Water Make Gains

Snack and non-alcoholic beverages sales were up 4.1 percent in the four-week period ending on December 1, according to an analysis of Nielsen data by Wells Fargo Securities.

The all channel report showed growing sales of carbonated soft drink (CSDs) across the category’s major players, including The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, and Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP). Coke reported a 1.1 percent increase in total beverage sales, with 3.6 percent growth in CSD sales helping to offset weaker bottled water and juice numbers. KDP was up 1.4 percent with 0.4 percent growth for teas, 3 percent growth for shelf-stable juices (which includes Bai), and a 5.1 percent increase in CSDs. Total beverage snack and beverage sales for PepsiCo were up 1.2 percent, largely driven by a 5.9 percent increase for salty snacks, but only showed a “muted” 0.4 percent increase in CSDs.

Overall CSD dollar growth was up 2.9 percent for the four week period, which Wells Fargo analysts attributed to strong price growth of 4.9 percent, but was offset by a unit volume decline of 1.9 percent. The category overall is at 0.8 percent dollar growth for the 52 week period, unit sales down 1.4 percent.

Meanwhile, energy drinks enjoyed 9 percent growth. Sales for Monster and Red Bull were up 7.9 percent and 6.7 percent respectively, while fast-growing Bang saw sales increase 973.7 percent, giving the brand a 4.1 percent share of the energy space. Monster controls a 44.5 percent share of the space, down 0.3 percent, while Red Bull gained a 0.4 percent share up to 36.1 percent. Despite high growth for other brands, Rockstar fared poorly contracting -7.8 percent.

Sparkling flavored water continued its growth streak, up 16.7 percent overall in the four week period and averaging $2.2 billion in sales (or 18.5 percent dollar growth) for the 52-week period ended on Dec. 1. Sparkling Ice maker Talking Rain leads the category with 16.5 percent growth in the four week period and about a half-billion in sales for the year. Nestlé Holdings reported positive 12.3 percent growth, Polar was up 20.7 percent, and Coke was up 9.4 percent. La Croix maker National Beverage Corp — which controls the second largest share of the market after Talking Rain — was only up 0.3 percent, apparently hurt by a unit volume decline of -4 percent, compared to a 52 week period dollar growth of 27.3 percent and 26.5 percent unit volume growth.

Elsewhere, ready-to-drink coffee was up 5 percent, boosted by 1.4 percent increase for Starbucks/PepsiCo. Private label brands grew 23.5 percent, Coke reported 11.6 percent growth, and Rockstar was up 45.8 percent for its coffee offerings. Campbell was down -10.4 percent, but all others in the category showed a combined 28.1 percent growth.

Bottled water was up 3.2 percent, though category leader Nestlé was fell 1.5 percent and Coke was down 3.7 percent. PepsiCo, however, saw 5.5 percent growth and private label brands were up 10.2 percent. All others in the space were up 7.4 percent.

Sports drinks were down 2 percent, with only Coke showing a slight positive growth in the category at 0.3 percent. Category growth remains positive for the 52-week period at 4.4 percent growth.

Refrigerated juices were down 3.2 percent in the period, with Coke and PepsiCo both falling 2.3 percent and 3.3 percent respectively. Campbells, which announced in August it was pulling the plug on its Fresh Division, which includes Bolthouse Farms brand juices, was down 9 percent. Shelf stable juices fared better, up 0.5 percent overall, driven by gains for KDP and Ocean Spray Cranberries. Others in the space experienced declines, including Coke (down 5.8 percent), PepsiCo (down 9.3 percent), and Kraft Heinz, which saw a 1.4 percent decline in dollar growth, but was up 4.7 percent in unit volume.