Coca-Cola, PepsiCo see soda declines continue
FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2013 file photo, Beyonce performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, in New Orleans. It seems that not even Beyonce or new, lower-calorie options can convince Americans to drink more soda. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Dr Pepper Snapple all sold less soda in the second quarter, dashing hopes for the moment that splashy new marketing and different sweetener mixes could get drinkers back. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, March 26, 2009 file photo, Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell Inc., reacts to a question during a news conference in Beijing. A group led by Dell's founder raised its offer for the struggling computer maker on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, in hopes of attracting more shareholder support for its plan to take the company private. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan, File)
It seems that not even Beyonce or new, lower-calorie options can persuade Americans to drink more soda.
Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. all sold less soda in the second quarter in North America, dashing hopes for the moment that splashy new marketing and different sweetener mixes could get drinkers back.
Coca-Cola Co. said it sold 4 percent less soda in North America, while PepsiCo Inc. simply said its decline for the region was in the “mid-single digits.” Dr Pepper sold 3 percent less of the fizzy drinks.
Coca-Cola, based in Atlanta, blamed the sluggish sales on a cold, wet spring. But the declines continue a years long trend. According to the industry tracker Beverage Digest, per capita soda consumption in the United States has been slipping steadily since 1998 amid concerns that sugary drinks fuel weight gain.
Another problem is that people now have so many more choices when it comes to drinks. An endless array of bottled waters, teas of many colors, even energy shots and “relaxation” drinks are vying for the attention of the thirsty, with store coolers getting more crowded all the time.
The trend “won’t change and will probably get worse without a major breakthrough in new sweeteners,” said John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest.
PepsiCo’s decline for the quarter came despite its stepped-up marketing over the past year; the company signed pop star Beyonce to star in its ads and signed a multiyear deal to sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show. The company also introduced a mid-calorie soda called Pepsi Next to win back people who have quit soda because they don’t like the calories in regular or the taste of diet.
Dr Pepper has also introduced a lineup of 10-calorie sodas, starting with Dr Pepper Ten. The idea is that they have just enough high-fructose corn syrup to taste better than diet. But the new drinks apparently aren’t persuading enough people to pick up soda again.
Coke has even taken on the question of obesity head-on in TV commercials, hoping to convince people that physical activity can let them enjoy some guilt-free refreshment.
To make up for the declines in the meantime, the industry is relying on bottled waters, teas, sports drinks and other beverages to boost sales.