Consumers continued to turn to carbonated soft drinks at US groceries and convenience stores during the first quarter of this year as many restaurants, workplaces, and foodservice venues remained closed or under limited use following the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic. At US retail, carbonated soft drink (CSD) volume rose +2.9%. Dollars jumped +9.5%, helped by +6.7% higher pricing (see Table). Keurig Dr Pepper led sales gains among the top-3 soft drink makers. KDP and PepsiCo gained volume and dollar share during the quarter. Pricing grew for all three companies. This year’s first-quarter data laps the March 2020 start of consumer pantry loading in the US spurred by the Covid-19 crisis.
ROBUST BRAND GROWTH. The top-10 CSD brands all posted higher volume and dollar sales at US retail during the first quarter, as shown in the Green Sheet for carbonated soft drinks included with this issue. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Dr Pepper, Sprite, and Dr Pepper posted the largest volume and dollar gains.
CHANNELS. In the supermarket channel, CSDs grew volume and dollars by +1.9% and +9.2% respectively (Green Sheet). Convenience stores jumped +2.7% by volume and +7.7% by dollars.
DATA. Quarterly, BD tracks multi-channel soda sales at retail from two data sets. The data have been combined to present a snapshot of the industry. It covers supermarkets, c-stores, drug chains, mass merchandisers including Walmart, some dollar/club stores and the military channel. The table within this story shows volume, dollar and pricing metrics by company from the combined data set covering the same one-year period. The Green Sheet that accompanies this newsletter shows corporate and top-10 brand shares for the combined data sets, plus breakouts for major channels.
LATEST FOUR WEEKS. According to brand level Nielsen data cited by Goldman Sachs for the 4-week period ending May 22, 2021, US CSD dollar sales declined -0.6%, compared to +2.3% growth for the prior 12 weeks (data not included in table or Green Sheet). The 4-week period lapped year-ago pandemic-related pantry loading in the US, which led to the decline. However, on a two-year stacked basis (which adds percentage sales gains for the periods ending 2020 and 2021), sales growth remained elevated at +15.7% for the four- week period. That was an accelerated pace compared to +15% for the 12-week period, and +14.7% for the 52-week period.
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