American Industry Overview: Bottled and Canned Soft Drinks and Carbonated Water

Industry Snapshot

Soft drink companies manufacture and sell beverage syrups and bases to bottling operations that add sweeteners or carbonated water to produce the final product. Independent bottlers work under contract with various soft drink manufacturers and are allotted specific territories to serve. The manufacturers provide the bottlers with syrups and bases and with a variety of business services, including product quality control, marketing, advertising, engineering, and financial and personnel training. In turn, the bottlers supply the required capital investment for land, buildings, machinery, equipment, trucks, bottles, and cases. The soft drink industry sells its product in two forms, packaged and fountain service. With fountain service, the soft drink product is dispensed and served in cups, typically in a restaurant or any location with a food service station.

The carbonated soft drink industry declined 2.1 percent in volume in 2009 to 9.4 billion cases, according to Beverage Digest. The Coca-Cola Company continued to hold the largest market share at 41.9 percent, followed by PepsiCo with 29.9 percent and Dr Pepper Snapple Group with 16.4 percent. Retail dollar value of the industry totaled $73.9 billion.