The Good Cop: There are some 16 million less Americans are drinking sugary soft drinks now compared to 6 years ago (68% of adults vs 76%). This, from a report published by Mintel, a marketing research firm.
The Bad Cop: What are we drinking instead
1. 7.8 million switched to diet soft drinks.
2. 24 million added bottled water to their shopping carts. (the healthiest choice, but oh so many plastic bottles…)
3. 17 million more gulped down energy drinks. (the caffeine, the calories…)
4. 11 million additional future Olympians opted for sports drinks. (the broken dream of enhancement…)
The study also found that 16% of Americans are concerned about high-fructose corn syrup, while 15% are worried about artificial sweeteners in diet drinks.
At the same time, an academic research report affirms what dietitians have been telling us for quite some time: cutting calories from sugary drinks may be more effective for weight loss than reducing the same amount in solid foods.
What you need to know:
Soft drinks are a very lucrative market for the food industry. The raw materials are dirt cheap (water, sugar, food coloring), and the returns are very high.
The top 2 players in the US, The Coca Cola Company and PepsiCo, are well aware of shifting trends in consumer preferences and have plenty to continue to offer us from their quiver of brands picked up over years of consolidation.
What to do at the supermarket: Here’s a radical idea. Why not skip the beverage aisle next time you go shopping? Tap water in the US is clean, refreshing, and of negligible cost. In fact, a family of 4 will save over $500 in grocery bills by just quitting soft drinks.