The Cold Vault Gets Energized

Functional beverages continue to make big strides in sales

Last year, alternative beverages/energy drinks, sports drinks and enhanced water all saw major sales increases, proving that today's consumers are looking for more from their drinks than just a tasty flavor. Still, despite its slight slippage, carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) remain king of the category.

With some experts believing that the slow decline of CSDs could be more than a brief dip, beverage makers are showing a willingness to experiment with splitting the difference between CSDs and functional beverages. Multiple suppliers are also focusing their efforts on new packaging and brand variations, including mid-calorie versions of already-popular brands.

Packaged beverage sales in 2012 were highest in the West and lowest in the Northeast, and supermarkets remain convenience stores' primary competition for market share in the category.

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