Diet Coke trumps Pepsi as No. 2 US soft drink

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Diet Coke has knocked full-calorie rival Pepsi from the number two slot on list of most popular US soft drinks, handing Coca-Cola the top two spots, an industry report said Thursday.

Beverage Digest said Diet Coke leaped into second place, securing nearly 10 percent of the market, in a major setback for rival Pepsi.

Diet Coke sold 927 million cases, and Pepsi 892 million for the year.

Regular Coke retained its strangle hold on the top spot, with $74 billion in sales and 17 percent market share.

A whopping 1.6 billion cases of the best-selling sugary soda were shipped within the United States last year.

Pepsi lost 4.8 percent in sales over the year and ended up with a 9.5 percent share, down from 9.9 percent.

Pepsico's Mountain Dew was ranked fourth, followed by Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola's Sprite, and then Diet Pepsi, Beverage Digest said.

Weighing all their brands, Coca-Cola held a 42 percent of the entire market, while PepsiCo was far back at 29.3 percent.

But Coke might not revel in its victory for long.

Beverage Digest said that the $74 billion US carbonated beverage industry continued to shrink last year, with Americans drinking less fizzy soda than they have in 14 years.

"With the volume declines of the last six years, the category's volume is back down to about where it was in 1996, eliminating years of growth," the publication said.

Individuals are drinking less than they have since 1998. That year per-person consumption peaked at the equivalent of 576 12-ounce cans a year, and has since fallen steadily to 485 cans last year - still more than one can a day.

But the industry was up on the retail value of sales, to $74.2 billion from $73.9 billion in 2009.

It credited that to higher prices and the rise in sales of premium-priced energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar.

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