NEW YORK -- After several years of rapid expansion, ready-to-drink iced teas are projected to exhibit more tepid growth in the years ahead, according to a new report.
In its RTD Tea and Coffee in the U.S. -- 1995 report, Beverage Marketing Corp. here found that wholesale dollar sales of ready-to-drink iced tea were up 14.8% in 1995 to $1.7 billion. However, that growth was substantially less than the 50% growth the category saw in 1994 and 94% growth it exhibited in 1993.
The report found that ready-to-drink iced tea volume increased 15% in 1995, equal to 2.24 gallons for every person in the United States. While that figure is substantially below the 51.9 gallons per-capita consumption for soft drinks and 10.4 gallons per capita for bottled water, new brands and flavors of ready-to-drink tea continue to enter the market, the report found.
Several factors contributed to the reduction in growth, including the maturation of the market, growth being measured against a larger base and logistical problems for Snapple following its acquisition by Quaker Oats Co.
"We're predicting that this year is the last that will see double-digit growth in the ready-to-drink iced tea category. We're projecting a robust 14% growth for 1996, going down to 9% growth in 1997, 7% in 1998 and about 5% in 1999," Gary A. Hemphill, vice president of information services at Beverage Marketing Corp., told SN.
"Our surveys are done on a nationwide basis, so while the ready-to-drink iced tea sales may have peaked in one region of the country, they may still be growing in other areas," Hemphill said.