News highlights, market trends, and original data analysis related to the U.S. retail food & beverage industry … by Jay Nargundkar
As has been noted on this blog previously, among the ways soda manufacturers are revamping their portfolios amid slumping sales is to offer smaller portion sizes around 1/3 smaller than typical 12 oz. cans. A recent AP story suggests this initiative is picking up steam:
7.5-ounce “mini-cans” and 8-ounce and 8.5-ounce glass and aluminum bottles are taking up more space on supermarket shelves. The cans and bottles have been around for a few years, but Coke and Pepsi are making them more widely available and marketing them more aggressively.
As part of its “Share-a-Coke” campaign that printed popular names on cans and bottles last year, for instance, Coke says it distributed a million mini-cans…
The focus on smaller sizes isn’t a detriment to the bottom line, either, thanks to selling for a higher per-ounce price on shelves:
[Coke’s North American president Sandy Douglas] noted a regular 12-ounce can of Coke on average sell for 31 cents. By comparison, a 7.5-ounce mini-can sells for 40 cents. That translates to 2.6 cents-per-ounce for a regular can, versus 5.3 cents-per ounce for the mini version.
A look at Coke and Pepsi’s estimated mainstream U.S. retail sales for the past two years backs up the idea that the companies’ focus on smaller portion sizes is a smart bet. For portion sizes of cans and bottles between 7.0-8.5 ounces, Coke sales (including Coke Zero) increased nearly 9% on a dollar-basis from 2013 to 2014, while Pepsi (including Diet Pepsi) saw sales of those sizes rise over 13% over the same period. Coke outsold Pepsi among these sizes by an approximate 2.7-to-1 basis.
While smaller bottles and cans are seeing sales growth and carry higher margins, they represented just 2.6% on a dollar-basis of Coke’s U.S. retail sales in 2014, and 1.2% for Pepsi. While consumers may be gradually warming to smaller portion sizes, retail sales of soda are still dominated by the “big” boys.