February 01, 2016

Industry Highlight: Beverages

The beverage industry is positioned to experience some big changes in 2016. Over the past year, sodas have been facing fire for their approach to sugar, and juice consumption is trending downward. In 2014, soda sales per capita were down 25 percent since 1998, while orange-juice consumption is down 45 percent per capita in the same period. Meanwhile, the best performing brands are beverages that didn’t even exist a few years ago.

Trends Impacting the Beverage Industry

According to industry experts, there are four major trends to watch for in the beverage industry in 2016.

    1. Growth in Energy, Water, and Sports Drinks Brands

Large beverage companies like PepsiCo are starting to realize that focusing solely on carbonated soft drinks is not a strategy for the future. Major beverage companies are focusing on developing new healthy beverages over the next year. For example, CocaCola is planning on releasing sparkling Minute Maid and sparkling Smart Water, while Pepsi is launching an organic Gatorade and new Aquafina flavored waters.

    2. Revamping Recipes

In addition to launching new healthier products, some core brands are looking into reworking their recipes so that they have fewer calories or less sugar.

    3. Smaller Packaging

The trend towards healthier eating means that customers are looking for products that help them moderate the number of calories they consume. In 2014, the American Beverage Industry promised to cut calories by 20 percent by 2025. By creating smaller packages (smaller cans and bottles), companies can cut calories without necessarily reworking the recipe. At Coca-Cola, retail sales for smaller cans and bottles are up 17 percent, while the amount of soda sold per gallon is decreasing.

    4. Authenticity

The war against sugar and calories has portrayed large beverage companies as the enemy, and these companies are planning on launching campaigns to humanize themselves. Some companies, like PepsiCo, have announced plans to launch some vintage-inspired sodas, in an attempt to tap into shoppers’ nostalgia. Another approach is obtaining external symbols of approval from third-party research groups and nutritionists.

Employment Trends in the Beverage Industry

In the beverage manufacturing industry, the occupational areas with the most jobs are production occupations, such as first-line supervisors of production workers, team assemblers, food batchmakers, and other production occupations.  This category of jobs makes up 29.53 percent of total occupations in the industry. This is followed by occupations in transportation and material moving occupations (18.2 percent of total industry employment) and sales and related occupations (13.8 percent of total industry employment).

Employment in the Beverage Industry, 2015

Employment in the Beverage

Source: BLS

Employment Trends, Projected

Employment Trends, Projected

Source: BLS

Year-over-Year Change in Employment

Year-over-Year Change in Employment

Source: BLS