Forecast 2019: The Prognosis for Packaged Beverages
NATIONAL REPORT — Despite their high expectations for the foodservice category and the fact that beverages are frequently added to prepared-food purchases, convenience store retailers are less excited about the packaged beverages category this year, according to the results of the 2019 Convenience Store News Forecast Study.
The good news is that very few expect packaged beverage unit volume to decline, and no surveyed operators expect dollar sales per store to drop. However, they are fairly split on whether sales will stay the same or increase. A slight majority believe the latter, with 52.4 percent saying they expect both dollar sales and unit volume to rise, while 47.6 percent expect dollar sales to stay the same and 42.8 percent expect unit volume to be unchanged.
Retailers cited price increases most frequently as the foremost factor that will prevent unit volume, and possibly dollar sales, from rising in 2019. Others listed overall challenges with carbonated soft drink (CSD) suppliers, but speculated that slowing soda sales will be offset by increased sales of teas and flavored waters, tying in with consumer demand for healthier options.
Sparkling water, protein drinks and kombucha are also among the trending packaged beverages that retailers expect to have a category impact in 2019. Planned category promotional efforts include loyalty program initiatives and deals pairing food and beverages.
The 17th annual CSNews Forecast Study includes a Retailer Forecast and Supplier Forecast, both based on the results of a survey fielded in November 2018. Participants were asked to predict 2019 sales per store for a variety of product categories, as well as to share their opinions on overall business, economic and consumer trends. The Forecast Study also provides dollar and unit volume projections in key c-store product categories.