Diet Coke is dying

Luring people back to diet soda.
Luring people back to diet soda.
Image: Reuters/George Frey
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The decline in global sales of Diet Coke continues.

The chart above shows sales through 2014, based on data from Euromonitor. Things have gotten worse since then. In its second-quarter earnings report (pdf) today (July 22), Coca-Cola said that global sales of Diet Coke fell 7% from the same quarter last year.

The reigning diet soda brand’s descent reflects a shift in consumer preferences, especially in the US, to more natural foods and beverages. At least, that’s generally the trend among those trying to eat a more healthful diet—which is why PepsiCo recently announced that it was taking the artificial sweetener aspartame out of Diet Pepsi in the US. Unlike PepsiCo, Coca-Cola hasn’t made any announcements on major recipe changes.

But there’s still plenty of demand around the world for sugary drinks. Coke reports that its Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Fanta brands all had higher sales in the second quarter. Interestingly, so did Coca-Cola Zero, a sugar-free soda closer in flavor profile to regular Coke than Diet Coke and marketed mainly toward men—which suggests that while the Diet Coke brand looks to be dying, there is still some life in the diet soda market yet.