The picture appears to be a little less than rosy for the refrigerated juices/drinks category. For the 52 weeks ending March 25, 2018, dollar sales in the category fell 1.1% to $6.6 billion, while unit sales declined by 2.1% to 2.2 billion, according to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI.
But a closer look at the data reveals much better news in a number of juice subcategories.
Fruit drinks, lemonade shine
A bright spot can be found in refrigerated fruit drinks. Dollar sales within the subcategory rose 4.5% to $1.2 billion, while unit sales climbed 1.3% to 516.1 million.
PepsiCo’s Tropicana brand made the biggest gains among the top 10 brands, with dollar sales jumping 86.6% and unit sales rising 81.9%. Also posting strong results was the KeVita brand, with dollar and unit sales both increasing 35.2%. And the popularity of kombucha brought good news to GT’s Living Foods — the company’s GT’s Kombucha Synergy brand saw a 20.8% rise in dollar sales and a 25.8% increase in unit sales.
But a few top 10 fruit drink brands didn’t fare so well. The biggest loser here was Tropicana Twister, which realized a 22.4% decline in dollar sales and a 20.1% drop in unit sales.
The refrigerated lemonade subcategory celebrated a growth spurt, too. Dollar sales rose 5.4% to $745.2 million. Unit sales climbed 4.0% to 337.4 million.
Among the top 10 brands, Florida’s Natural posted the most significant gains. Dollar sales increased a whopping 404.7%, while unit sales jumped 396.3%. Minute Maid Premium (The Coca-Cola Co.) was also a winner, realizing dollar and unit sales upturns of 12.9% and 12.7%, respectively.
Newman’s Own saw the most disappointing results among the top 10. Dollar sales declined 12.2%, and unit sales fell 16.2%.
Certain refrigerated juice subcategories associated with specific health benefits also made strong gains. For example, refrigerated pomegranate juices, known for their health-promoting antioxidants, saw an impressive 9.2% rise in dollar sales to $108.3 million and a 7.5% surge in unit sales to 20.7 million. And refrigerated cranberry cocktail/drinks, associated with bladder health, posted a 3.2% increase in dollar sales to $68.5 million and a 4.1% uptick in unit sales to 25.8 million.
Orange juice, smoothies suffer
Meanwhile, the largest refrigerated juice category — orange juice — continued on what has been a multi-year decline. Dollar sales fell 3.4% to $2.9 billion, while unit sales dropped 5.1% to 866.5 million.
Of the top 10 refrigerated orange juice brands, only three realized gains on both the dollar sales and unit sales sides. The Natalie’s brand (Natalie’s Orchard Island Juice Co.) saw a 35.7% upsurge in dollar sales and a 25.1% rise in unit sales, while the Homemaker Premium brand (from Homemaker Premium Juice) posted 10.9% and 11.0% improvements in dollar and unit sales, respectively. And Minute Maid Premium Kids saw a 2.8% jump in dollar sales and a 3.7% increase in unit sales.
Faring the worst among the top 10 was the Minute Maid brand, which saw 32.0% and 32.3% declines in dollar and unit sales, respectively.
Posting an even steeper decline than the refrigerated orange juice subcategory was the refrigerated juice and drink smoothies subcategory. Dollar sales within the subcategory fell 7.0% to $846.4 million, while unit sales tumbled 7.7% to 242.2 million.