The Packaged Beverages Forecast

Energy Drinks and Bottled Water Drive Packaged Beverages Category

As a whole, the packaged beverage category saw a decline in c-stores during 2009, but rebounded in 2010. In 2011, unit volume is expected to decrease 1.2 percent per store, but sales per store are forecasted to increase 1.6 percent.

Breaking down the subcategories within packaged beverages, carbonated beverages remains the weak link, although there may be a slight increase this year. In terms of unit volume, the carbonated segment ended 2010 with a 1.4 percent decline, slightly less than the 2.8 percent decline seen in 2009. In 2011, volume per store is expected to drop 2.8 percent, but per store sales are forecasted to see a 0.1 percent increase.

While the bottled water segment had a weak 2009 on the heels of a weak 2008, the category was strong before that time. It grew again in 2010 and that growth should continue in 2011. The 2011 forecast shows unit volume per store up 3.3 percent and sales per store up 2.8 percent.

The growth of alternative drinks, especially energy drinks, continues to be explosive. After a 4.5 percent decline in volume per store in 2009, the alternative beverage category posted a 24.7 percent increase in volume in 2010 and is expected to grow by 35.3 percent in 2011. Sales per store in the alternative beverage category rose 7.7 percent in 2010 and is forecast for a 1.5 percent sales gain in 2011.

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