Charted: US consumption of bottled water has finally caught up to soda

US consumers about to drink more water than soda.
US consumers about to drink more water than soda.
Image: AP Photo/Don Ryan
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After years of slurping down sugary sodas, America is about to switch to bottled water.

The rise of bottled water comes as consumers increasingly opt for healthier drinks, part of a larger rejection of the sugar-filled beverages that have been linked to rampant obesity and chronic illnesses in the US. As consumers moved away from soda, companies such as Pepsico and Coca-Cola have also broadened their offerings, producing more bottled water and flavored waters, sports drinks, premium milk and juices.

“All of them are an improvement over Coke and Pepsi because they have much less sugar,” said Marion Nestle, a New York University nutrition science professor and author of Soda Politics. ”People should not be drinking sugar, that’s a bad idea.”

In an earnings call with investors today (April 18) Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi noted the company’s Lipton tea products grew by 10% during the first quarter and that Naked Juice grew 60%.

“We’ve broadened our beverage portfolio to lessen reliance on cola,” Nooyi said, adding that just 12% of revenue earned by Pepsi’s North American beverage sector comes from its namesake soft drink.