Carbonated soft drink category pricing in the four weeks ending Feb. 23 continued to outpace the 52- week period, according to Nielsen data published by Wells Fargo. As shown in the table below, Coca-Cola’s pricing gains trailed the category in the 4-week period and decelerated by more than 1 point compared to the 12-week period. Coke led the category with earlier-than-usual mid-year pricing gains last year to help offset escalating costs for inputs such as aluminum and transportation. PepsiCo, which delayed its pricing actions until after the Labor Day holiday weekend, made up some ground. After trailing the category for the 52-week period, PepsiCo’s pricing has outpaced the category in the 12-week and 4-week periods. Keurig Dr Pepper played catch-up, as well, more than doubling the rate of its pricing gain in 4-week and 12-week periods. The private label segment also posted accelerated pricing compared to the 52-week period. National Beverage, on the other hand, cut pricing gains on its soda brands by 2.6 points in the 4-week period compared to the 12-week period, trailing the category increase.
Data. The retail data referenced covers grocery, convenience, drug, dollar store, mass (including Walmart), and club.
Diets. Diet soda dollar sales jumped +3.4% after pricing gains (+4.3%) outpaced declining volume (-0.8%) for the segment (not shown in table). Coca-Cola’s dollar gain (+2.3%) decelerated in the 4-week period compared to the 12-week period and fell below the segment rate increase. PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper’s dollar gains (+3.9% and +4.8% respectively) outpaced the segment. Volume loss was steepest for Keurig Dr Pepper (-2.0%).
Energy. Category dollar and volume growth decelerated (to +9.6% and +4.6% respectively) in the 4-week period compared to the 12-week period as pricing gains remained steady (+4.7%). Category leader Monster took pricing (+6.4%) in the recent period at a rate higher than the category, leading to dollar (+2.8%) and volume (-3.4%) performance that underperformed the category. Red Bull cut pricing (-1.0%) in the 4-week period, leading to volume growth (+9.1%) that almost doubled that of the category. Dollar sales growth (+8.0%) far outpaced Monster while tracking behind the category. Bang, meanwhile, reached a 6.8 dollar share of the energy category during the 4-week period after growing more than +900%.
More on Bang Energy. The brand’s growth has become increasingly concerning for Wall Street analysts covering Monster. As of March 9, Bang reached an 8.1 dollar share of the energy category, according to Nielsen data cited by Wells Fargo. Bang also is driving most of the category growth even as its retail penetration is less than 50% as measured by all commodity value (ACV), “suggesting plenty of future growth potential,” the analysts said. Analysts at Morgan Stanley pointed out in a report that Bang’s convenience business, which drives a large portion of the brand’s volume, was roughly at 1% a year ago. In the West, Bang has roughly a 12 share of the convenience and gas market, with a 94% retail ACV in the channel, according to Morgan Stanley, which also cited Nielsen data. Bang’s share outside the West region is about 7 on a 62% ACV. “We now believe that Bang market share may have reached a tipping point in the U.S. with outsized share gains appearing to increasingly source share from Monster,” the Morgan Stanley analysts wrote on March 28.
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