The most frequent purchase in convenience stores is a drink – a fizzy, still or alcoholic one – according to Convenience Store News' new packaged beverages survey. And the publication predicts that sales in each of those drink categories will be up this year, with dollar-volume rising an average of 5.3% across the category.
Beverage Industry, meanwhile, anticipates that price deflation in the supermarket sector will cause dollar sales in the drinks category to be flat this year.
Both publications anticipate the strongest growth in beverages to be among bottled and flavored waters. According to Beverage Industry, this will be fueled by enhanced and healthier varieties.
Craft beers are likely to continue to push both dollar and volume growth in both grocers and convenience stores – and fizzy drinks will likely stay stalled as consumers cut sugar consumption.
Curiously, both supermarkets and convenience stores continue to allocate considerable amounts of space to soft drinks – sales of which have, across the board, been flat or worse in recent years. But soft drinks still keep their shelf real estate by buying it through what's commonly called “slotting allowances." Alternatively, manufacturers may negotiate lower prices to retailers, effectively accomplishing the same end result.
So in a sense, the retailer is making money on the “buy” — getting the product into the store — and the “sell” — what the consumer pays. Many scholarly and industry studies have explored the practice, as has the FTC, which considers it to be legal.
Soda has had a good run, having been around in one form or another since 1767, when Englishman Joseph Priestly invented “soda water,” which led to carbonated beverages. And the rest is history.
The history of bottled water is equally long and fascinating, but it didn't really start to enjoy its current fame until the late 1970s. Constantly having a (branded) water bottle became stylish in the U.S. not long after Perrier kick-started it with a massive ad campaign in the late 1970s.
There's a reason why companies like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola expand and revise their product portfolios: They recognize that tastes change. Both have their own brands of bottled water and are likely to continue to influence the aisles of c- and supermarket stores in ways hard to imagine now.