Soda seems to be losing its pop with the consumer. For the 12th consecutive year, soda sales declined, according to trade publication Beverage Digest.
Stats Show Soda Is Sliding
Reuters reported that Beverage Digest’s annual report shows sales dropped by 1.2 percent in 2016. This continues a downward slide that started in 1995. However, declines in soda sales have accelerated over the past two years. In 2014, sales fell 0.9 percent. The following year saw a jump to a 1.2 percent decline.
People not only buy less soda, but also drink less of it, too. Beverage Digest reported that per capita consumption of soda (including energy drinks) dropped to 642 8-ounce servings in 2016. This marks the lowest level since 1985, when the publication began measuring data.
Despite these decreases, total sales dollars for soda actually increased 2 percent to $80.6 billion. How? Soda companies began selling smaller packages of their product at higher prices per ounce. In addition, the manufacturers cut discounts on larger, bulk packs of soda.
Why Are Soda Sales Going Flat?
There could be a few reasons behind soda’s falling popularity in the market.
First, a number of cities across the U.S. have a “soda tax” on the books. Cities in California, Colorado, Illinois and Pennsylvania tack on a tax to soda, sports drinks and other drinks with added sugar. Countries such as France, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico and the United Kingdom have had similar taxes in place for a while. The taxes are meant to increase prices on the sweet drinks and hopefully discourage people from drinking them.
Actions such as the soda tax are in response to medical studies that link the carbonated drinks to obesity. For example, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition warns that soda could be a “key contributor to the epidemic of overweight and obesity, by virtue of these beverages’ high added sugar content, low satiety, and incomplete compensation for total energy.” The AJCN study shared data from the World Health Organization that the U.S. has approximately 129.6 million people who are considered overweight or obese.
The AJCN’s review of numerous studies could not make a direct link to drinking soda and the population’s growing weight problem. However, it did find that the majority of studies showed a connection between the number of soda drinks someone consumed and higher body weight. More research needs to happen in this area to make direct links, according to the AJCN.