This is part of Supermarket News’ 2018 Category Guide to fresh and center store categories.
Increasing consumer interest in cocktails overall, along with new products that have premium appeal, may be helping buoy the premixed cocktail and cooler category at retail.
Dollar sales in the category soared 41%, to about $379.5 million, across all retail channels in the 52 weeks through May 20, according to data from IRI. The sales performance included a significant increase at supermarkets, where sales were up 45.1%, to nearly $266 million. The data reveal that unit volumes have increased at about half the pace, indicating higher prices per item and reflecting the “premiumization” of the category, according to some observers.
A recent article in the Seven Fifty Daily, a newsletter covering the alcoholic beverage industry, cited the emergence of several premium product lines from both well-established producers and lesser-known regional and start-up players. Hard sodas and seltzers have been among the strongest performers in this category, observers said.
In addition to the premium products that have emerged, premixed cocktails also tap into consumer demands for convenience, the article explained, noting that foodservice venues such as airlines and sports arenas have also jumped on board the “cocktail in a can” craze, helping introduce consumers to the category and further bolstering consumer perceptions around quality.
In a consumer survey, research firm Mintel found that the top reason consumers choose ready-to-drink cocktails over other types of beverages was that they “don’t require preparation.”
The category captures a relatively small percentage of consumers overall, however. Mintel found that 11% of drinkers considered ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages as their primary alcoholic beverage.
“The category trails behind other alcohol types in both consumption and sales, and is relegated to ‘also drink’ status,” said Beth Bloom, associate director, U.S. Food and Drink Reports, Mintel.