U.S. commercial beverage market holds steady in 2006

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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BASINGSTROKE, ENGLAND — The U.S. commercial beverage market stayed stable in 2006 and experienced a slight decline during the fourth quarter compared with the same period of 2005, according to international beverage consultants Canadean Ltd.

The most dynamic category was flavored milk, and soy and rice drinks also experienced a strong fourth quarter.

However, these beverages did not compete with soft drinks. Soft drinks took on share and continued to add the most total beverage consumption, although this category did not experience the largest amount of growth. Soft drinks account for 6 out of every 10 liters consumed.

While carbonates remained strong, the category is no longer the driving force in the beverage market — bottled water has taken that role, according to Canadean. Water in single-serving packaging is particularly popular and is being driven by the increased sales of multi-packs. Carbonated soft drinks experienced a decline in volume of more than 1% compared with the previous year. While many carbonate suppliers introduced new packaging, flavors and brands, these efforts weren’t enough to overcome cost-driven prices increases during the fourth quarter, Canadean said.

Sales of diet carbonates during the last three months of 2006 were down more than 3% compared with the same period of the previous year. Regular carbonates also experienced a negative performance during the quarter and year.

Low-calorie products represent one-third of the carbonates market, however last year’s steady decline in carbonates consumption is expected to increase some with a volume gain of below 1% forecasted for low-calorie products.

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