Marina Mayer   Executive Editor

The saying goes, what goes up must come down. The same can be said however for what goes down must come back up. Such is the case for non-dairy beverage sales, which continue to display rising figures, even though some brands saw sales drop.

Bottled water sales rise to the top

The $7.8 billion bottled water category, for instance, isn’t showing any signs of hitting the ground. The category increased 2%.

According to Chicago-based SymphonyIRI Group, for the quarter ended Aug. 7, 2011, private label ranked No. 1 in the convenience/PET still water segment with $1 billion in sales.

Meanwhile, vitaminwater Zero, produced by Glacéau, Whitestone, N.Y., experienced a 159.6% jump in sales, partially due to its “uncapped” campaign, which pairs vitaminwater with music, action sports and fashion.

RTD iced coffee, tea creates ‘buzz’

The ready-to-drink cappuccino/iced coffee segment displayed some up-and-down results, similar to the highs and lows felt after a good swig of caffeine. Overall though, sales increased 5.5% and units increased 8.3% for the period.

As for individual brands, sales of Illy Issimo, produced by Italy-based Ilko Coffee International Srl, jumped 485.2% for its 100% Arabica coffee selection, while Seattle’s Best, Seattle, rose 383.4% in sales for its Vanilla Latte, Iced Mocha and Iced Latte options in a can.

On the other hand, Cinnabon, Seattle, experienced an 89.1% decline in sales, while PomX iced coffee, produced by Los Angeles-based Pom Wonderful, LLC, underwent a 60.8% drop in sales.

The canned and bottled tea sector, a $2.4 billion category, showcased mixed results as well. On the upside, AriZona Arnold Palmer Half & Half, created by AriZona Beverage Co., Cincinnati, in partnership with golf professional Arnold Palmer, saw a 50.4% increase in sales. AriZona Arnold Palmer is a blend of traditional black tea and lemonade.

Other positive marks go to Lipton Brisk Tea, an iced tea soft drink that’s produced by Unilever-owned Lipton in conjunction with PepsiCo. Lipton Brisk Tea raked in a 27.1% increase in sales and comes in eight flavors. Meanwhile, Lipton Diet pulled in a 4.3% rise in sales. The traditional Lipton brand didn’t fare as well in sales, seeing a 15.5% drop in sales, whereas Lipton Pureleaf dropped 8.5%.

Juice rules

Refrigerated juices and drinks are extremely popular non-dairy beverages. Orange juice, for example, is the highest grossing sector, raking in $2.7 billion in sales thanks to Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid brand, which saw sales balloon 444%.

Juice and drink smoothies placed fourth (see table) with a 16.6% rise in sales. Odwalla Superfood, produced by Odwalla Inc., Half Moon Bay, Calif., saw a 148.9% jump in sales, while Naked Well Being, a line of better-for-you smoothies produced by Naked Juice Co., Monrovia, Calif., underwent a 114.4% climb in sales.

Despite a pattern of sales increases, the blended fruit division, which snagged the No. 5 slot, experienced a 9.4% dive in sales. Odwalla kicked off the downward spiral with a 32.5% plummet in sales. Meanwhile, Fruit2Day (produced by WhiteWave, LLC, Broomfield, Colo.), Minute Maid and Dole (both from Dole Food Co., Thousand Oaks, Calif.,) saw sales decline 15.9%, 14.1% and 12.6%, respectively.

On the other hand, sales for Welch’s Healthy Start, a no-sugar-added, 100% juice line by Welch’s, Concord, Mass., soared 1,630.9%.

Dairy processors can study the data to help them decide what beverages they should be bottling.