Bottled Water Ready to Pass Soda in Sales

Water will finally surpass its toughest foe: soda.

Sales in the U.S. of bottled water should top those of soda for just the first time ever at some point during 2016, with consumers opting more and more for alternatives that are healthier to the carbonated beverages, according to a research firm online.

Data released by Beverage Marketing Corp showed that companies expected to have shipments totaling 12.4 million gallons of bottles water during the fiscal 2016 year, in comparison to 12.4 million gallons of soda or carbonated beverages.

The research company, whose data for the industry goes back 4 decades, also is expecting shipments of water to exceed 13.5 million gallons in fiscal 2017 and soda volumes to drop to less than 12.2 million gallons.

One analyst in the industry said this is the tenth straight year of year on year drops in volumes of traditional soda across the U.S., but water is another story as it has continued to grow.

Bottled water has gained on soda for a number of years, which is something soda makers have noticed. Coca-Cola is Dasani water’s parent company. Dasani is now the nation’s second best selling water.

PepsiCo is the owner of Aguafina, the nation’s No. 3 water brand, while DejaBlue owned by Dr. PepperSnapple is one of Fiji Water’s distributors.

Standing head and shoulders in the water industry over the U.S. is European beverage and food giant Nestle. The company sells 8 out of the top 10 best selling brands of water in the U.S. including Nestle Pure Life the market leader.

Coca-Cola posted an increase of 2% in volumes of its still beverages, which include its bottled waters for its most recently ended quarter, while its sparkling beverages, those that includes soda, dropped by 1%.

At the same time, PepsiCo, experienced a gain of double digits in the water business, as did competitor Dr. PepperSnapple. Carbonated beverages are still higher margin because they have higher prices than does bottled water.

Though market watchers predicted that sales of bottled water would soon surpass those of soda, the shift has happened much faster than most forecasted.

The biggest reason is growing health concerns that surround carbonated beverages as groups have linked soda to a number of different health problems.

That kind of scrutiny combined with cities such as Philadelphia adding a separate tax for diet and sugary beverages have led to sales dropping for carbonated beverages.

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David Glass

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