While Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo remain the leaders in the United States soft drinks market, Campbell Soup showed a large gain among the major companies. The soup and juice company acquired Bolthouse Farms in August 2012 to enter the premium chilled juice category. Hain Celestial purchased BluePrint, a maker of high pressure processed organic fruit and vegetable juices, in December 2012. The premium juice acquisitions give both packaged food companies access to affluent, health conscious consumers who are looking for good flavour and nutrition.
Beverage manufacturers continue to face pressure from federal regulators, class-action lawsuits and consumer activists. The current presidential administration has taken a more active role in regulating industries. Consequently, there are increasing investigations, enforcement and regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), along with international, state and local governmental bodies. Attorneys are filing class-action lawsuits to argue fraudulent labelling. Consumers are also becoming more vocal online as they realise that they can organise online petitions, such as on Change.org, to ask for certain ingredients to be removed.
Supermarkets and hypermarkets continue to dominate retail sales, thanks to their wide selection of products, affordable prices and effective merchandising. Drugstores are becoming a bigger force in soft drinks, as they expand their food and beverage selections to compete better against supermarkets and convenience stores. The opening of Duane Reade and Walgreens flagship stores with Coca-Cola Freestyle machines and juice and smoothie bars has broadened consumers? view of drugstores.
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