May 9/Prepared Foods May 2011 “Hitting the Shelves” --Preliminary data from Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC) indicate the U.S. beverage market grew 1.2% in 2010. While such growth may seem slim at first glance, it does represent a significant improvement, when considering the past two years had seen back-to-back declines. BMC notes, “Just as the weakened economy hampered beverages’ performance in 2008 and 2009, improved conditions contributed to their rebound.”

Girl Drinking
 

In 2010, the volume of total liquid refreshment beverages exceeded 29 billion gallons, with notable surges in ready-to-drink (RTD) tea and coffee, sports drinks and energy beverages. Even segments failing to register growth--carbonated soft drinks (CSD) and fruit beverages--improved, though not enough to reflect positive growth.

RTD tea’s 12.5% volume growth in 2010 put it firmly atop the fastest-growing segments, well ahead of second-place sports drinks’ 9.4%. However, RTD tea remains something of a niche market, with no tea brand ranked among beverage’s leading trademarks. A sports drink is among those top trademarks, which is not entirely a surprise, considering the brand (Gatorade) is almost synonymous with sports drinks. While a rival (Powerade) saw its volume surge 19% in 2010, Gatorade’s volume managed to increase by more than 6% during the year and firmly establish itself among beverages’ leading trademarks.

The top five beverage trademarks in 2010, in order, were Coke (with a 15.0% share of volume), Pepsi (8.3%), Mountain Dew (4.6%), Dr Pepper (4.1%) and Gatorade (3.2%). Sprite, Nestle Pure Life, Poland Spring, Tropicana and, in a tie, Dasani and Aquafina rounded out the top 10.

While CSDs continued to lose both volume (dropping to 13.8 billion gallons in 2010) and market share, it remained the category’s largest segment over the course of the year, accounting for 47% of market share and five of the 11 biggest beverage trademarks.