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Carbonated soft drinks take lead in U.S. beverage category

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NEW YORK Soft drinks are still the No. 1 selling bottled beverages in the U.S. and water surpassed beer to take second place in average beverages consumed per person in 2007, according to a recently published study.

The report stated that Americans consumed an average of 49.3 gallons of carbonated soft drinks in 2007, down 3.3 percent from the previous year.

Bottled water consumption was up 7.1 percent in 2007 to a reported average of 22.5 gallons per person. Beer saw a gain as well, up 1.4 percent, or 22.2 gallons average. Milk and coffee were both down; milk at 20.1 gallons, down 1 percent, and coffee at 16 gallons per person, a drop of about 1.2 percent.

Even though Americans were consuming more bottled water than ever before—almost twice as much per capita than 10 years ago—soft drinks still held the lead.

“Water is still about 46 percent the size of carbonated soft drinks," industry newsletter Beverage Digest, which published the report, said, “but the category growth is far outstripping population growth, so per capita consumption has risen steadily since the early 1990s.”

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