Dr Pepper/Seven UP Leads Growth

Soft drink sales increased a mere 0.6% in the U.S. in 1999, an increase of less than 100 million cases over 1998, based on preliminary statistics released from Beverage Marketing Corporation.

Although industry volume topped 10 billion cases for the second straight year, average consumption fell by 0.2 gallons to 55.9 gallons for the first time in at least thirty years.

"Clearly, 1999 sales were affected by the decisions of the major soft drink companies to raise prices at the retail level to improve profitability. These price increases took a while for the consumer to adjust to given the low prices they have been used to paying for their favorite brands," said Michael Bellas, chairman, Beverage Marketing Corporation. "The fast growth of bottled water also negatively impacted the industry's growth."

The Coca-Cola Company saw its soft drink volume decrease by 0.5% while Pepsi-Cola Company enjoyed an increase of 0.6% in 1999. Coca-Cola led the industry with a 44.1% share of market, down from the 44.6% share the company held in 1998. The company experienced solid growth from Sprite and Minute Maid. Pepsi-Cola saw its market share remain at 31.0%, with Mountain Dew and Pepsi One driving the company's growth. Both companies experienced strong growth in non-carbonated beverages - which are counted separately from soft drink sales.

Perhaps the biggest news was the strong year enjoyed by Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc. (DPSU), the third largest soft drink company. The maker of brands such as Dr Pepper, 7UP and A&W increased sales by 3.7% and raised its share of the market from 14.1% in 1998 to 14.5% in 1999. "DPSU benefited from continued strong performance by Dr Pepper as well as the consolidation of its bottling system," said Bellas. "Strong marketing for some of its brands also contributed to the company's bottom line."

Among flavors, root beer, pepper and heavy citrus products grew the fastest as they have throughout much of the 1990s. Regular soft drinks grew 0.7%, outpacing diet soft drinks, which grew 0.4%. The industry remains consolidated at the top - with Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper/Seven Up accounting for 90% of the industry.

A comprehensive soft drink statistical report compiled by Beverage Marketing will appear in the March issue of Beverage World magazine. Statistics measure all distribution channels, including supermarkets, convenience stores, fountain and other channels of availability.

Based in New York, Beverage Marketing Corporation is the leading research, consulting and financial services firm dedicated to the global beverage industry.

  Millions of Cases* 1999 Share Share Change
Coca-Cola 4,487.0 44.1 - 0.5
Pepsi-Cola 3,154.9 31.0 -
Dr Pepper/Seven Up 1,477.0 14.5 + 0.4
Cott Corporation 283.3 2.8 + 0.2
National Beverage 205.0 2.0 + 0.1
Triarc/Royal Crown 109.0 1.1 - 0.1
Monarch 26.5 0.3 -
Big Red 26.3 0.3 + 0.1
Seagram Mixers 25.6 0.3 + 0.1
Double Cola 9.9 0.1 -


  Millions of Cases* 1999 Share Share Change
Coca-Cola Classic 2,060.6 20.3 - 0.3
Pepsi-Cola 1,436.8 14.1 - 0.4
Diet Coke 860.3 8.5 - 0.1
Mountain Dew 719.1 7.1 + 0.4
Sprite 681.7 6.7 + 0.2
Dr Pepper 629.9 6.2 + 0.3
Diet Pepsi 481.1 4.7 - 0.3
7UP 204.9 2.0 - 0.1
C-F Diet Coke 177.3 1.7 - 0.1
Minute Maid** 137.0 1.3 + 0.1
* 192-ounce equivalent cases
**Includes diet and regular
Source: Beverage Marketing Corporation