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Soda Industry Looking To Mini Cans To Give Major Boost To US Sales

LOS ANGELES, August 13, 2014 () – The U.S. soda industry isn’t doing well. According to a recent report by Moody’s, sales of diet and low-calorie sodas in America fell 5% in 2013 while carbonated soft drinks sales fell 2.6%, in part from heightened consumer attention on healthier diets and the effects of corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.

To that end, the industry has begun offering its sodas in mini cans, selling its beverages in 7.5-ounce sizes instead of traditional 12-ounce cans and hoping that the higher unit price will help boost its bottom line.

The reason behind offering less soda for a higher per-ounce price is simple: Companies are betting that U.S. health-conscious consumers will be more willing to drink soda if offered in a smaller size, so that they can enjoy the beverages while still feeling like they’re watching their calorie intake. One consumer quoted in a recent Thomson Reuters article said it best: “I can have my sweet fix but not feel guilty for having so much.”

Is it working? If you ask the major players, the answer is yes. Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soda maker, said there was double-digit growth in mini cans even while sales volumes of sparkling beverages in North America were flat. Smaller sizes, which include mini cans, accounted for more than 60% of the volume growth in traditional Coke.

Meanwhile, Pepsi’s mini can business in the U.S. has grown 24% so far in 2014 and was up 34% last year. The company said that this year, it has also seen a significant increase in the number of in-store displays of mini cans.

For the industry as a whole, mini can sales grew 3% in 2013 while the rest of the carbonated soft drink category dropped, according to market research firm Euromonitor.

If these numbers are any indication, expect mini cans of soda to keep popping up at grocery stores. Expect to keep paying more to have less.

Nevin Barich is the Food and Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence. Email him here or follow him on Twitter here.

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