Soda Losing Its Grip on America


"Consumers are slow to change their attitudes, but they do change, and that may be what we're seeing here," he said. "There are new beverage categories now, from fancy combination juices, to enhanced waters, energy drinks, etc., that convey some sort of 'value added' quality, real or imagined. Soda can then look more mundane by comparison."

According to the report, energy drinks did see a per volume increase, with Monster going up 7.7 percent and Red Bull 6.4 percent, but their overall shares of the carbonated soft drink market is disproportionately small.

And more Americans are turning to another type of sweet, carbonated beverage, according to the AP.

Last year, a small brand called Sparkling Ice saw sales more than double to $302.4 million from the previous year, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.

While still a tiny fraction of the broader soda industry, it represents striking growth from 2009, when sales were just $2.7 million. And it's just one of the factors chipping away at the dominance of traditional sodas like Coke and Pepsi, particularly in the diet category.

The soda industry admits it was a bad year for its frontline drinks, but both Coke and Pepsi made clear their businesses are diverse and they are major players in the bottled water, sports drink, tea and coffee lines -- all of which are growing.

A spokesman for PepsiCo told ABC News: "We have a diverse, well-positioned beverage portfolio that includes leading brands in several key growth segments, including Gatorade in sports drinks, Lipton in ready-to-drink tea, and Starbucks in ready-to-drink coffee."

Fifty-four percent of PepsiCo's U.S. beverage portfolio is in non-carbonated beverages.

Coca-Cola told ABC News: "In a challenging year, we grew share in both the Sparkling and LRB categories. We are committed to the long-term growth of our portfolio and we are investing to build strong brands, create customer value and enhance our system capabilities. With increased investment, better execution and new innovation, we are committed to returning our overall sparkling business to growth in the U.S. while continuing to realize price/mix growth."

McCarron recommends getting your carbonation and sweet fixes from other sources.

"Try sparking water and adding a natural sweetener that wouldn't only satisfy your sweet tooth but keep your sugar level more stable so you don't hit that high crash at the end," she said. "This can be sparkling water with lots of fruits or adding a little bit of honey ... to give you that taste that you crave but doesn't give you the sugar rush."

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