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PepsiCo, Coke Lose Market Share as Americans Drink Less Soda

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  • Bottled water tops soft-drink sales volume for the first time
  • It’s a ‘seismic shift’ for beverages, consulting firm says

Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc.’s sodas continued to lose U.S. market share in 2016, hurt by Americans ditching the drinks in favor of bottled water.

The beverage giants saw soft-drink volume decline last year, with per capita consumption falling to a 31-year low, according to trade publication Beverage-Digest. Still, total volume grew for the two companies, with their water and sports-drink brands picking up the slack.

Bottled water beat carbonated soft drinks in sales volume for the first time, according to Beverage Marketing Corp.

“The beverage industry has undergone a seismic shift,” said Michael Bellas, chief executive officer of the group. “Bottled water’s emergence as the No. 1 beverage type clearly signals a fundamental change in what consumers want from their beverages.”

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo have expanded their portfolios of beverages and diversified pack sizes of carbonated drinks to appeal to increasingly health-conscious consumers. Volume of Coca-Cola’s Dasani grew 5.3 percent and PepsiCo’s Aquafina gained 10.9 percent in 2016, according to Beverage-Digest’s annual report.

Smaller soda cans and bottles contributed to a 2 percent gain in carbonated soft-drink revenue to $80.6 billion from $79 billion in 2015. That’s a sign of success for Coca-Cola, which has increasingly focused on profit, rather than volume.

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