Now more than ever before, Americans are putting down their sodas to look for healthier beverage alternatives.
Beverage Digest reports that soda consumption volume fell 1.2% in 2015. That’s the 11th consecutive year of declines for big soda brands like Coca Cola and PepsiCo, and it’s the lowest consumption total in the U.S. since 1985. However, even with the steady decline, that still equals out to 650 sodas yearly for each man, woman, and child in the United States, or an average of more than 126 cups of sugar per year.
Financially, diet drinks are seeing an especially difficult environment. One thing that might explain the decline: the recent backlash against aspartame due to safety and health concerns. While the Food and Drug Administration still deems the artificial sweetener as “safe,” PepsiCo responded to consumers’ concerns last August by switching Diet Pepsi’s original aspartame formula to one with sucralose. This doesn’t seem to have made a huge difference though, since Diet Pepsi sales dropped 5.8% in 2015.
Despite the overall decline in soda sales, two soda brands, Fanta and Sprite, did manage to excel in 2015, and the bottled water market continues to show strong growth. Increases from 6.5% to 11.4% were reported by brands including Dasani, Aquafina, and Poland Spring.