"The CSD category has faced several years of sales declines, the result of artificial ingredients, sweeteners, sugar concerns, links to obesity and diabetes, and other health issues. Total retail sales of carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) is expected to decline as negative diet soda sales continue to overtake regular sales gains. The category struggles as the diet CSD segment sours and leading companies increase prices to make up for lost sales volume. Opportunities exist in the category to strengthen brand trust, authenticity, and experience, particularly through trending natural and craft CSDs segments."
- Elizabeth Sisel, Beverage Analyst
This report discusses the following key topics:
- Category sales are declining
- Unfamiliarity, high prices hinder success in craft segment
- Health concerns continue to plague category
This report spotlights natural/craft CSDs because of their growing popularity and better-for-you and natural trends. Mintel defines these as CSDs labeled as natural, feature real sugar and/or plant-based sweeteners, and/or contain 100% natural ingredients. Craft CSDs are defined as being manufactured in small batches, includes more natural ingredients, and/or is labeled as “craft” or “hand-crafted.”
Artificial ingredients, sweeteners, sugar content, and links to obesity and diabetes, among other health issues continue to put pressure on the carbonated soft drink category. CSDs need to move past a beverage category that offers consumers basic refreshment and taste with a host of additional health baggage.
Craft and natural provides a new flavor experience, while hitting on natural and premium ingredient trends. The segments are still too young to predict success and too small to save the category’s souring sales, however, interest in craft and increasing numbers of consumers drinking natural, naturally sweetened, and craft products are promising. Health perceptions are on craft’s side, but manufacturers need to justify high prices and build awareness to grow sales.
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