Sales of Iced Tea/ Coffee Stay Hot

Dairy processors can (and do) bottle other beverages, and looking at three beverage categories that some dairies compete in, it's obvious that even with cold, refrigerated beverages, some are hot and some are not.

According to recent data from Information Resources Inc., the refrigerated teas and coffees category is the no-brainer of beverages. Quarterly figures for IRI's F/D/MX channels show that tea and coffee has been a consistent winner with double- digit growth for quite some time. In fact, looking back in the Dairy Market Trends archives, we see that iced tea has been posting these kinds of numbers going back to at least 2003.

These IRI numbers are for food, drugstore and mass-merchandisers, not including Wal-Mart. Oddly enough, when we looked at refrigerated coffee drinks earlier this year, that category was shrinking tremendously.

Dairies also bottle juice, but quarterly sales of all refrigerated juices and drinks offers a different picture. Juice sales have been up and down in recent quarters, but the ups have not been as significant as the downs.

Orange juice, specifically, is a favorite product of dairies. And the loss of momentum in orange juice sales has deepened during the last year. But looking at the top 10 brands, it's easy to see what the major players are doing about it. Reformulating another one of "nature's perfect foods" is all the rage, and it's where a lot of the action is. Among kid-focused and specific functional brands, there is a lot of movement. But some of those brands are up and some are down. There is likely some repositioning going on here, and some good old-fashioned competition.

Finally, bottled water continues to grow like no one might have imagined a few years ago. The third quarter last year saw 20% growth in dollar sales. Unit sales growth ranged between 7% and nearly 10% for much of 2005 and cooled only slightly in the first period of 2006.