Ten years ago, Americans drank enough soda every year to fill a small aquarium. Fifty-three gallons of the stuff per person. That's half a liter of Diet Coke on an average day. Compare that to our other favorite liquid-caffeine companion. For every cup of coffee we consumed in 2003, we drank two cups of soft drink. For $1 we spent on joe, we spent $4 on soda.
Now look where we are: Soda is in a free fall, with domestic revenue down 40%. Coffee culture is ascendant, up 50% in ten years. In another decade, the United States could easily spend more on coffee than soda -- something utterly unthinkable at the turn of the century (industry data via IBISWorld)
Tea production and coffee shop revenue not included; soda data includes major industry players, including revenue from Coca Cola and Pepsico, who together make up 78 percent of the market; excludes still beverage):
Four factors behind this remarkable caffeinated convergence:
(1) The health thing. This hardly requires summary. Soda ain't cigarettes, but sugary soft drinks have faced a similar cultural and political backlash in the last decade. As obsessively healthy attitudes have osmosed from yoga yuppies to the general population, local governments have turned on soda, pressing school bans and cup-volume limits. Fading consumer sentiment has had twin impacts: pushing soda drinkers to switch to cheaper brands and encouraging soda companies to shift toward diet drinks, smaller bottles, and alternative drinks, according to IBISWorld.