America Has a New No. 2 Soda, and It's Not Diet

Pepsi overtakes Diet Coke as soda sales by volume continue to fall
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2015 9:14 AM CDT
America Has a New No. 2 Soda, and It's Not Diet
In this June 27, 2012 file photo, blog writer Stephanie Klose, sips beverage as she participates in a soda taste test in New York. Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

One small slide for Diet Coke, one giant leap for Pepsi? While Coke has retained its crown, Pepsi has replaced Diet Coke as the second-most consumed soda in the US by volume. According to 2014 industry data via Beverage Digest, both actually saw volume fall, but Pepsi's 1.8% dip was smaller than Diet Coke's 6.6% drop, resulting in the slightest market-share edge for Pepsi, at 8.8% to 8.5%. Diet soda in general is taking a beating, the Wall Street Journal reports: Coke Zero's volume dropped 2%, Diet Pepsi fell 5.2%, and Diet Mountain Dew slid 3%. Fortune frames their predicament thusly: Health-conscious consumers are favoring juices and flavored waters that are free of ingredients like aspartame, a sugar substitute that a September 2014 study found may actually raise your blood sugar.

To wit, the Washington Post reports that in the last decade, Diet Coke's sales have sunk by nearly 30%; Diet Pepsi has fared worse. And while volumes of all nonalcoholic drink were up 1.7%, soda consumption as a whole fell for the 10th consecutive year, with a 0.9% drop in volume last year. That category includes bottled water, which Beverage Marketing Corp. says took a big jump in volume last year: up 7.3%. That bolsters the industry tracker's prediction that by as soon as late next year, bottled water volumes could overtake soda volumes. What else we're drinking: Ready-to-drink coffee beverages increased 11% in volume, energy drinks were up 6.4%, and sports drinks climbed 3%. (Read how you can fight the negative effects of fructose in soda.)

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