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Rising tide of beverage sales.

THE U.S. LIQUID REFRESHMENT BEVERAGE MARKET grew in 2014, after being flat in 2013, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., a New York-based beverage consulting, research and advisory services firm.

Bottled water had an especially remarkable year, with volume growing by 7.3%. Niche categories, including energy drinks and ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee also continued to grow. RTD coffee volume was up 10.7%, although the category still accounts for a fraction of overall beverage sales, say Beverage Marketing officials. Energy drinks boosted their volume by 6.4% in 2014, but also is a small segment of the overall liquid beverage category.

Sports drinks, including Gatorade and PowerAde topped 1.4 billion gallons in 2014, up significantly from 2011 when the category first topped 1 billion gallons.

On the downside, carbonated soft drinks--by far the largest liquid refreshment category--continued to lose both volume and market share. Volume slipped 1% from 12.9 billion gallons in 2013 to less than 12.8 billion gallons in 2014, which lowered the category's market share from slightly less than 43% to just above 41%. However, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., the category declined more slowly than in previous years and some soda trademarks, such as Sprite and certain varieties of Mountain Dew, did achieve growth. Moreover, carbonated soft drinks accounted for five of the 10 biggest beverage trademarks in 2014, with Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola retaining their usual first and second positions.

"Beverages rebounded in 2014," says Michael C. Bellas, chairman and CEO of Beverage Marketing Corp. "Products that connect with what contemporary consumers want, like bottled water and functional offerings, added buoyancy to the ever-changing market."

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Title Annotation:UPFRONT: Trade Talk
Author:Turcsik, Richard
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Date:May 1, 2015
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