Americans Prefer Bottled Water To Carbonated Soda

USA consumers bought more bottled water than soda in 2016 for the first time ever, but Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co. will be fine.

-Is water America's new favorite beverage? On a per capita basis, bottled water consumption exceeded 39 gallons compared with 38.5 gallons for soda.

The report comes after another industry tracker, Beverage Digest, in February projected that bottled water volume consumption would surpass carbonated soft drinks in 2017.

Since 2006, volume sales have grown by just over 50%, and the year-over-year increase in 2016 of 8.6%, to 12.8 billion gallons, was the largest in the past 10 years.

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"People want to make a healthier choice", she tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview.

IBWA CEO Joe Doss said consumers are switching to bottled water for a number of reasons, including health and convenience. "Where once it would have been unimaginable to see Americans walking down the street carrying plastic bottles of water, or driving around with them in their cars' cup holders, now that's the norm", he added. Bottled water consumption dipped in 2008 and 2009, but has grown consistently from 1977 to 2016. Together, the two soda giants account for 26 percent of all bottled water sales. That's almost 88 billion gallons, and USA sales accounted for 19% or about 16.7 billion gallons. But that cost was artificially deflated by including gallon and multi-gallon jugs, even though two-thirds of bottled water is sold in single-serve bottles, where the cost of a gallon of bottled water could be nearly 2,000 times that of a gallon of tap water.

And while tap water tends to get a bad rap, especially after a crisis like the lead in Flint, Michigan, the majority of it is safe. In other words, Bellas was speaking to the long tradition of drinking clean, free tap water.

  • Ronnie Bowen