Soda Sales Drop for First Time in 20 Years


    By Michelle Lizon

    U.S. carbonated soft drink sales dropped for the first time in 20 years, decreasing by .7 percent in 2005, according to data released by Beverage Digest, the trade publication covering the non-alcoholic beverage industry.

    Although the retail value of the carbonated soft drink category grew 3.3 percent in 2005, it was due to retail pricing and a strong growth in premium priced energy drinks, the report stated.

    As Americans remove carbonated soft drinks from their diet, BYU students also turn to healthier drink options.

    Bob Zahrt, manager of BYU Vending, said soda sales at BYU have dropped in the past year, as students consumed less soda.

    He said bottled water sales drastically increased, as it became the biggest seller along with chocolate milk, of bottled items sold in BYU vending machines.

    “Water sales have skyrocketed even though there”s usually a drinking fountain nearby,” he said. “I don”t get why students buy bottled water when they can get it for free. They must be buying it for convenience sake so they can continually re-hydrate.”

    Zahrt said flavored water has also become very popular since it was introduced into BYU vending last year.

    The decrease in carbonated soft drink sales at BYU could be for a differing number of reasons relating to student choice.

    “Some students may think they just don”t need the calories anymore, as they become more aware of their health,” said Lora Brown, a professor for the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science.

    The drop in student soda consumption may be a cause of media coverage targeting the relationship between weight and soft drinks, said Michael Dunn, also a nutrition professor.

    “From what I”ve seen in the press, there”s a lot of negative publicity that isn”t necessarily backed up by scientific research,” he said. “The primary decline of soda sales may be due to the large amount of negative publicity, relating to the obesity problem in the U.S., especially among young adults and youth.”

    (For comments, e-mail Michelle Lizon at )

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