A guide to the non-alcoholic beverage industry

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Industry overview

The non-alcoholic beverage industry broadly includes soft drinks and hot drinks. Soft drinks contain carbonated or non-carbonated water, a sweetener, and a flavor, and hot drinks include coffee and tea. The soft drink category dominates the industry and includes carbonates, juice, bottled water, ready-to-drink tea and coffee, and sports and energy drinks. Soft drinks are sometimes referred to as liquid refreshment beverages (or LRBs). In the US, LRBs lead food and beverage retail sales. In this series, we’ll focus on the soft drink or LRB market.

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Dominant carbonates category

The global soft drink market is led by carbonated soft drinks (or CSDs), which had a market size of $337.8 billion in 2013. In the same year, CSDs were followed by bottled water, with a market size of $189.1 billion, and juice, with a market size of $146.2 billion. In a later part of this series, we’ll discuss why CSDs have been losing popularity, and why sales of other beverages, including juices and ready-to-drink tea, are increasing.

Major companies

The non-alcoholic beverage market is a highly competitive industry that includes two behemoths —The Coca-Cola Company (KO) and PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP). Collectively, these companies hold about 70% of the US CSD market. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. (DPS), Monster Beverage Corporation (MNST), and Cott Corporation (COT) are some other key players in the CSD market.

Many international markets are also dominated by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, but include other companies such as Groupe Danone, Nestle SA, and Suntory Holdings Limited.

Non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers, like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, are part of the consumer staple sector. You can invest in these companies through the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP).

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