America’s love affair with soda pop is quickly coming to an end. The new preferred drink for thirsty consumers is now water.
The Associated Press reports that for the past 20 years soda has kept U.S. consumers quenched, but soda’s reign has just ended. According to a survey by industry tracker Beverage Digest, per capita water consumption has increased to 58 gallons annually. Soda consumption has now dropped to 44 gallons a year.
While water may reflect American tastes changing for natural beverages, milk consumption still drags. In 1970, Americans consumed nearly 30 gallons of milk per year, on average, but since then consumers have turned to soda, juice and water instead. Today, per capita fluid milk sales hover around 20 gallons annually -- and dropping.
In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Vivian Godfrey, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program, acknowledged, “Milk has lost out to other beverages, primarily bottled water.”
Tom Gallagher, CEO of Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff program, told the Journal Sentinel that the declining milk sales are a “critical issue.”
"If we don't see fundamental changes in the milk business, and I don't mean incremental changes, then milk is going to become an irrelevant beverage at some point," he warned.