Soda Sales Fizzled in 2011


The decline in U.S. carbonated soft drink consumption accelerated last year as fast-growing energy drinks failed to offset weakness in traditional sodas from Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc, a beverage industry newsletter said on Tuesday.

Total sales volume of soda fell about 1 percent in 2011 to 9.27 billion cases, according to Beverage Digest, about the same level it was in 1996. Sales volume fell 0.5 percent in 2010.

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Excluding energy drinks such as Red Bull and Rockstar, soda volume was down 1.5 percent last year, Beverage Digest said.

Carbonated soft drink sales in the United States grew about 3 percent annually throughout most of the 1990s but began to slow in 1999. Sales have been in decline since 2005 as increasingly health-conscious consumers turn to options they see as healthier, such as bottled water, juice and tea.

Beverage Digest estimates that prices were up about 3 percent last year as manufacturers sought to pass through some of the increase in costs of raw materials including corn syrup, used as a sweetener. Those price increases likely contributed to the volume weakness.

Coke shares were down 6 cents to $70.34 on the New York Stock Exchange, while Pepsi shares were down 7 cents to $64.66. Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc, the No. 3 soft drink company, saw its shares fall 17 cents to $38.49.

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