Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE:DPS) reported earnings before the opening bell on Wednesday. Here's what you need to know about the company's results.

Solid earnings growth
The beverage giant's first-quarter earnings came in at $0.78 per share, significantly higher than analysts' expectation of $0.59 per share. The company said productivity improvements and lower costs for ingredients boosted operating profit. Dr Pepper Snapple's first-quarter sales of $1.4 billion were up slightly from the year-ago quarter's $1.38 billion. Net sales increased 1% for the the three-month period. Shares of Dr Pepper Snapple Group were up nearly 5% in late trading Wednesday.

Weathering fizzling soda consumption
Americans consume less soda than they did a decade ago, a growing problem for all soft drink manufacturers. Dr Pepper Snapple has tried to combat declining demand with mid-calorie beverage offerings, such as Dr Pepper TEN, and noncarbonated drinks. For the most recent quarter, sales volume of Dr Pepper TEN rose 1% from the year-ago period. In noncarbonated drinks, Hawaiian Punch fell 8% and Mott's declined 1%. The Snapple and Clamato brands rose 2% and 3%, respectively. Meanwhile, volume for the company's flagship Dr Pepper brand fell 4%, while 7UP was flat for the quarter. Geographically, Latin America enjoyed a 17% surge in net sales, due in part to the newly enacted sugar tax in Mexico. 

Looking ahead
For full-year 2014, the company expects reported net sales to be flat to up 1% and core EPS to be in the $3.38 to $3.46 range. Packaging and ingredient costs are projected to decrease. Dr Pepper Snapple said it would return $375 million to $400 million to shareholders in 2014 through share repurchases. Its stock currently pays a thirst-quenching dividend yield of 3.1%. 

Foolish takeaway
Today's earnings release shows that Dr Pepper Snapple boasts attractive long-term growth opportunities, particularly in the mid-calorie and noncarbonated beverage segments, as well as overseas. For the patient investor, Dr Pepper Snapple holds promise.

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Nicole Seghetti has no position in any stocks mentioned. Follow her on Twitter @NicoleSeghetti. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.