Water Spouts to the Top of the Beverage List

Good-bye, soda. Hello, water. Sitting atop Beverage Digest’s recently-released annual rankings of America’s most consumed drinks was a old favorite: water. Carbonated soft drinks, which have enjoyed the #1 spot since the 1980s, fell to #2.

In its heyday, soda was consumed by Americans at a rate of 54 gallons per year versus just 42 gallons for tap water. Today, Americans drink about 44 gallons of soda, down 17% from its peak. But the source of of the resurgence isn’t the kitchen tap. Growth is directly tied to the growth in sales of bottled water, which didn’t have much market presence before Nestle’s purchase and relaunch of Perrier in 1992. Before then, the bottled variety had been sold mainly in big jugs and coolers.

Today, people drink 21 gallons of bottled water a year on average and 37 gallons of other types, including tap, sparkling, flavored, and enhanced. Experts expect bottled water by itself to overtake soda within a decade, despite a growing concern among Americans about the waste coming from the plastic bottles. Bottled water enthusiasts will not be stopped. To meet the needs of more environmentally conscious consumers, one company has introduced boxed water, water packed in a more easily packaged and shipped container, similar to a carton of milk.

Does this mean that the consumers will step in and make arguments about sugar-sweetened beverages moot? Nah.

Click here to read more in USA Today.

Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, painting by Johannes Vermeer / Wikimedia

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