The trend toward convenient grab-and-go offerings shows no signs of waning. And that reality has been good news for the ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee and tea segment.

On the refrigerated side, RTD coffee and tea as a whole saw dollar sales climb 11.2% to $2,044.5 million during the 52 weeks ending July 14, 2019, according to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI. Unit sales rose 6.3% during the same timeframe.

Shelf-stable RTD coffee and tea also experienced positive dollar sales growth — 2.7% to reach $6,759.8 million — although unit sales fell by 0.9%.


Refrigerated coffee, tea take off

The shining star in the overall segment was refrigerated RTD coffee. The subcategory posted a 24.8% increase in dollar sales and a 20.0% upturn in unit sales.

Within the subcategory, many of the top 10 brands recorded double-digit growth. The top three performers were Stōk (Danone North America), with dollar and unit sales up 60.1% and 60.4%, respectively; Nestlé Coffee-mate Natural Bliss (Nestlé USA), with dollar and unit sales up 49.0% and 50.2%; and Starbucks (Nestlé USA), with dollar and unit sales up 37.8% and 39.0%.

On the flip side, only one brand — Bolthouse Farms Perfectly Protein (Bolthouse Farms Inc.) — saw sales decline. The brand’s dollar sales fell 5.9%, while its unit sales decreased 7.3%.

The refrigerated RTD tea subcategory also posted impressive gains, with dollar sales rising 8.2% and unit sales climbing 4.5%.

Faring the best among the top 10 brands was GT’s Synergy (GT’s Living Foods). The brand recorded a 116.0% rise in dollar sales and a 130.0% increase in unit sales. Another top 10 brand that fared particularly well was Health Ade (Health-Ade LLC). Its dollar sales were up 66.8%, and its unit sales expanded by 77.3%.

Like its refrigerated RTD coffee counterpart, the subcategory saw no top 10 brands post major sales declines. But the GT’s Kombucha brand (GT’s Living Foods) did record 5.7% and 3.7% dollar and unit sales falloffs.


Shelf-stable coffee a bright spot

On the nonrefrigerated side, the cappuccino/iced coffee subcategory posted more-than-respectable gains. Dollar sales rose 8.2%, while unit sales jumped 6.4%.

The super-performer here was Caffé Monster (Monster Energy Co.), which saw dollar sales increase 100.2% and unit sales rise 102.7%. Another brand recording notable upward movement was Java Monster (Monster Energy Co.), with dollar sales up 15.6% and unit sales up 11.2%.

Not all of the top 10 brands recorded positive growth, however. Starbucks Doubleshot (Nestlé USA) saw dollar sales decline 6.3% and unit sales take an 8.2% dive. And dollar and unit sales for the Dunkin’ Donuts brand (Coca-Cola Co.) fell 3.5% and 2.9%, respectively.

One subcategory didn’t fare quite as well as the others, however. Shelf-stable canned and bottled tea posted 0.9% and 4.0% dollar and unit sales declines, respectively.

What’s more, only two of the top 10 brands recorded positive growth. Dollar sales for the Gold Peak brand (Coca-Cola Co.) inched up by 1.2%, but unit sales fell 3.3%. And Arizona Arnold Palmer (Arizona Beverages) posted a 1.0% dollar sales increase, but unit sales fell 0.9%.