Bottled water consumption overtakes carbonated soft drinks in the USA - figures

Industry tracker Beverage Marketing Corp. today announced that bottled water surpassed carbonated soft-drinks in 2016 to become the largest beverage category by volume, capping what it described as a "remarkable, decades-long streak of vigorous growth".

Consumption of bottled water reached 39.3 gallons per capita a year ago, surpassing the 38.5 gallons of soda per capita consumed, according to data from the Beverage Marketing Association.

The popularity of packaged water started when Perrier was introduced in the 1970s.

The change at the top has always been anticipated with soda's woes mounting in recent years as result of health concerns and consistent targeting by activist groups, which have pushed measures like taxes on sugary drinks. On a per capita basis, bottled water consumption exceeded 39 gallons compared with 38.5 gallons for soda. Within that market, domestic sparkling water sales saw the most growth between 2013 and 2015, a report from the International Bottled Water Association shows.

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In the water revenue, 26% went to soda giants Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc., which sell Dasani and Aquafina brands, respectively.

Looking forward, Beverage Marketing expects bottled water to continue putting even more distance between itself and carbonated soft drinks. The data were reported on Thursday by the Beverage Marketing Corporation. "As some consumers are becoming wary of artificial sweeteners, they are abandoning diet as well as regular soda and instead are switching to bottled water". That's a dramatic drop from the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the average American drank more than 50 gallons of soft drinks per year.

Trends have been leaning in favor of the top-spot takeover since 2010, as bottled water has seen an increase in consumption for three years running. "As the ultimate portable and affordable beverage, bottled water spawned new usage occasions and habits".

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