Nielsen: CSD Pricing Holds Strong, Sparkling Water Posts Gains

Non-alcoholic beverage and snack sales across all retail channels grew by 7.9 percent in the four-week period ending January 26, according to an analysis of Nielsen data by Wells Fargo Securities. Analysts attributed the growth to “favorable New Year’s timing” and strong pricing for carbonated soft drinks (CSD).

Total beverage sales for The Coca-Cola Company were up 4.2 percent over the four-week period, compared to 2.1 percent growth year-over-year. CSD sales were up 6.8 percent. PepsiCo enjoyed 4.1 percent growth for total snack and beverage sales, driven by a 9.7 percent increase in salty snacks and 1.7 percent growth in CSDs alongside double digit growth for flavored water. Total beverage sales for Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) were up 4.5 percent, led by 6.6 percent growth for CSDs and 7.7 percent growth in shelf-stable juices and drinks (a category which includes Bai).

Overall CSD sales were up 5.1 percent in the four-week period, compared to 1.7 percent growth over the 52-week period.

Growth in energy drinks remained strong, according to Wells Fargo analysts. Dollar sales were up by 15.2 percent, with category leaders Red Bull and Monster both reporting solid growth of 11.8 percent and 11.9 percent respectively. Monster was boosted by sales increases for its Monster Java line (up 23.4 percent) and a decline in promos, although analysts said the company is likely to begin stepping up promotions soon. Sales of Bang also continued their rapid growth, up 971 percent and now representing 5.3 percent of the total market share for energy drinks. Coffee energy drinks from Starbucks rose 11.9 percent, while Rockstar continued its ongoing downward trend, dropping 2.2 percent.

Sparkling flavored water continues to be a high growth category, up 17.4 percent. Talking Rain, maker of Sparkling Ice, lead growth at 21.9 percent. Nestle Holdings was up 15.1 percent, Polar was up 15.7 percent, KDP up 4.1 percent, and Coke was up 10 percent. La Croix maker National Beverage Corp fell by 1.4 percent. Private label sales grew 11.2 percent, and all other brands were up 109.2 percent.

Still flavored water saw 6.3 percent sales growth. PepsiCo was the category’s fastest riser at 16.1 percent. Coke led dollar sales at $700 million, growing 2.1 percent. Kraft Heinz fell 8.5 percent.

Sports drinks were up 4.8 percent. Category leader PepsiCo dipped 1.6 percent, while Coke grew 5.3 percent. All other brands saw a 107.5 percent increase.

Dollar sales for refrigerated juices were down 5.1 percent across the board. Private label products were relatively flat, up just 0.4 percent, while category leaders all declined. Refrigerated juices from Coke were down 2.3 percent, while category sales for PepsiCo fell 4.2 percent. Campbell was down 12.8 percent. Shelf stable juices, however, reported a 2.5 percent increase in sales. In addition to KDP’s strong 7.7 percent growth in the category, cranberry juice maker Ocean Spray was up 1.1 percent, and Kraft Heinz saw sales up 6.3 percent. Campbell, Coke, and PepsiCo both declines in dollar sales, however, falling 3.5 percent, 2.4 percent, and 13.5 percent respectively.

Ready-to-drink coffee grew at 13.3 percent with PepsiCo and Starbucks’ North American Coffee Partnership still controlling the majority of the market, bringing in 77.1 percent of the dollar share with 10.3 percent sales growth. Coke, which is aligned with the Dunkin’ and McCafe brands, was up 18.1 percent. Rockstar’s coffee products were up 32.8 percent, and all others were up 37.2 percent.