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    Soft Drink Sales Fall to Lowest Level Since 1996

    Energy drinks help slow decline that began in 2005, but revenue is on the rise.

    NEW YORK -- Carbonated soft drink consumption by Americans fell to the lowest level since 1996 last year, continuing a decline that began in 2005, according to data gathered by Beverage Digest and published in its annual March report. Additionally, the drop would have been much worse if not for the popularity of energy drinks such as Red Bull and Monster, reported the Associated Press.

    The pace of the decline in consumption has sped up. In 2012, sales volume of carbonated beverages fell 1.2 percent, compared to a 1-percent drop in 2011 and a 0.5-percent drop in 2010. Factoring out energy drinks, last year's decrease in sales volume is 1.7 percent.

    Revenue from soft drink sales, however, didn't reflect the volume decline. Rather, a 3-percent increase in soda prices helped revenue increase by 1.8 percent to $77.1 billion, according to the report. Carbonated soft drinks are also still the biggest non-alcoholic beverage category.

    Total drink sales rose 1 percent to 15.4 billion cases in 2012, 9.2 billion of which were carbonated soft drinks. Consumption of bottled water, tea and energy drinks increased during the year. Based on volume, the fastest-growing brands were Monster, which increased 19.1 percent; Red Bull, 17 percent; Dasani, 9.1 percent; Rockstar, 8 percent; Fanta, 7 percent; and Arizona, 6.2 percent.

    Category leaders remained consistent, with the Coca-Cola Co. keeping its beverage market share steady at 34 percent. PepsiCo slid 0.6 percentage points to 26.3 percent, while Dr Pepper Snapple Group fell 0.1 percent to 11 percent total, and Nestle Waters rose by 0.3 percent to 10.2 percent of market share.

    Beverage Digest does not track sales volume for juice brands such as Tropicana or Minute Maid, according to the report.

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