Category Management Handbook

Dispensed Beverages: Cold Beverages 2016

C-Store Beverage Menu Trends

Technomic’s MenuMonitor c-store database features menus from 40 retailers in the United States. What follows is a snapshot of their dispensed- and packaged-beverage offerings in 2015 as part of their wider foodservice program.

Fountain drinks were ubiquitous among operators for cold beverages, followed by chillers—i.e., frozen carbonated beverages—offered by 75% of retailers.

Cold Beverages at C-Stores 

The number of soft drinks offered rose more than 21% in 2015, while the number of retailers offering these beverages remained the same, suggesting they simply increased the variety of their current offer.

Product categoryMenu incidenceBeverage distributionOperators offeringOperator penetrationAverage price
Soft drinks/fountain drinks4921.2%40100.0%$1.31
Energy drink229.5%1127.5%$3.23
Iced tea229.5%2050.0%$1.46
Bottled water146.1%1025.0%$1.62
Fruit smoothie146.1%825.0%$3.24
Frozen blended coffee114.8%930.0%$2.63
Iced coffee114.8%1122.5%$1.74
Sports drink83.5%527.5%$1.39

Source: MenuMonitor Q4 2015, Technomic Inc.

Consumer in Focus

Men in the 18- to 34-year-old age demographic are “significantly more likely” to consumer specialty tea drinks kombucha, matcha, bubble tea—than other age groups, according to research by Packaged Facts. Women in this age show a preference for chai, matcha, bubble and herbal tea. They also overindex for iced sweet tea by 40%.

Dispensed Beverage Purchases by Type*

Calendar year 2015

According to a Technomic survey of customers of 24 c-store chains, nearly 39% of dispensed-beverage purchases came from the fountain.

Source: Technomic Inc. | * Respondents could select more than one option

21% – Increase in number of soft drinks offered on c-store menus in 2015, according to Technomic

Dispensed Beverages: C-Store Basket Analysis

An analysis of retail point-of-sale data from three c-store chains by Management Science Associates shows dispensed beverages had among the lowest total basket ring of in-store categories. Baskets including a cold dispensed beverage were $5.40, while hot dispensed averaged less than $5.

Consumer in Focus

A research report by Packaged Facts found that 18- to 34-year-olds are heavier consumers of hot and iced coffee and least likely to brew it at home compared to other demographics.

Men in this age group are “significantly more likely” to consume specialty coffee beverages such as espresso and cappuccino, while 18- to 34-year-old women are more likely to drink iced coffee and blended ice drinks than other age groups.

Consumers 55 and older “overwhelmingly underindex” in their consumption of anything other than hot brewed coffee from restaurants. “This demographic may prove hard to crack, as they likely don’t see the value in expensive restaurant coffee drinks, and their taste profiles may not align with them,” the report says.

Dispensed Beverages: What to Watch

Hot Beverages

View the full 2016 Category Management Handbook

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