While Fanta’s growth was impressive, the fastest-growing beverage brand was Dasani, a bottled water sold by Coca-Cola. Dasani’s volume rose 11 percent, according to Beverage Digest. It was followed by Arizona iced tea, which grew 9.3 percent, and Pepsi’s Gatorade, which rose 8 percent.
To put this in perspective, carbonated soft drink sales grew about 3 percent annually in the U.S. for much of the ’90s. The category has been declining since 2005, however, as increasingly health-conscious consumers turn to other beverages perceived to be more healthful.
In the carbonated soft drink category, six of the top 10 brands lost volume, and only four grew. Overall, sales of carbonated soft drinks fell 1 percent in 2011, faster than the 0.5 percent decline in 2010, Beverage Digest said.
Beverage Digest includes fast-growing energy drinks within the category. Without energy drinks, sales of carbonated soft drinks would have fallen 1.5 percent.
Beverage Marketing estimates energy drink sales grew 14.4 percent by volume in 2011. This means it was the fastest-growing segment with the beverage industry. But it remains a relatively small share of the total beverage industry volume. In fact, only the read-to-drink coffee category is smaller, Beverage Marketing said.
Not surprisingly, no energy drink or ready-to-drink coffee brand ranks among the leading trademarks.
Sports drinks are another matter. Gatorade has been growing at a fast clip and topped the one-billion-gallon mark for the first time last year. Gatorade, coupled with G2 and other brand variations, is the fifth-largest beverage trademark, according to Beverage Marketing.
As for bottled water, its growth continues to accelerate. In 2008 and 2009, tough economic times led to a decline in bottled water sales, but the category recovered in 2010, and its growth rate accelerated in 2011. Bottled water sales volume was up 4.1 percent in 2011, faster than the 3.5 percent growth in 2010.
“The strong showing by high-end and functional products shows that consumers — at least the more affluent ones — are not concerned exclusively with economic consideration when making their beverage selections,” said Michael C. Bellas, chairman and CEO of Beverage Marketing.
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