Soda sales down for first time in 20 years

March 9, 2006 at 10:12 PM

NEW YORK, March 9 (UPI) -- After generations of increasing sales, the amount of soda sold in the United States dropped slightly last year.

Beverage Digest reported this week that 10.2 billion cases of carbonated soft drinks were sold in 2005. That's a lot of soda, but it is down .7 percent from 2004 and the first downturn in 20 years.

Some of the best-known brands were the hardest hit. Coke Classic sales dropped 2 percent and Pepsi was down 3.2 percent.

While health concerns appear to be contributing to the drop, sales of Diet Coke were almost flat, up .1 percent and sales of Diet Pepsi were down.

William Pecoriello, a beverage analyst at Morgan Stanley, told The New York Times that he believes soda sales will continue their downward course, dropping about 1 percent a year. He suggested that non-carbonated sports and energy drinks are becoming more popular with consumers along with plain bottled water.

Pecoriello believes many consumers have health concerns about diet sodas.

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