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Energy drinks, coffee and bottled water: The top performers in the center of the store

By Elaine WATSON , 03-Jan-2013

While volumes (unit sales) of all the other core ‘center of store’ categories declined in 2012, volumes of energy drinks, bottled water and coffee climbed strongly, according to Symphony IRI Group.

While unit sales of cold cereal; fresh bread & rolls; chocolate candy; and salty snacks declined 3%, 3.3%, 3.7% and 0.6% respectively in 2012, unit sales of energy drinks, bottled water and coffee surged 18.7%, 4.6% and  4.5% respectively over the same period, reveals the report ‘Center Store: Driving Growth from the Inside Out’ .

2012 was also a good year for unit sales of weight management products (up 15.1%); ready to drink coffee and tea (up 7.8%); crackers (up 5.1%); snack/granola bars (up 4.3%); and vitamins (up 4.5%), said Steven S. Ramsey, executive, client insights, at SymphonyIRI.

However, the declines in most other categories reflected an "ongoing wariness" among consumers, he said.

“These declines are reflective of an ongoing wariness of many shoppers to open their wallets despite a rash of good news, such as the Dec. 7 report that U.S. unemployment dipped from 7.9 to 7.7%, the lowest rate in several years.”

Sales across all outlets up 3.4% in 2012, but unit sales (volumes) down 0.3%

As to where shoppers are spending their dollars, there has been a continuing shift from grocery and drug stores to dollar stores, c-stores, supercenters and club stores, said Ramsey.

“During the past year, industry average dollar sales grew at a 3.4% rate, while convenience store sales grew at a 3.9% pace.”

Convenience was also the only channel to demonstrate volume growth, seeing a 2.6% rise in unit sales in the 52 weeks to Sept 9, 2012 compared with a 2.5% decline in the drug channel and a 2.7% decline in the food channel, he said.

To download the full SymphonyIRI report, click here .  

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