Soft drink advertising and consumption in the United States 1984–2007

Gary B. Wilcox and Sara Kamal
University of Texas at Austin

Harsha Gangadharbatla
University of Oregon


On average, an individual in the United States consumes 192 gallons of liquid per year, with carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) accounting for slightly over 28% (American Beverage Association 2007). The growth of the CSD industry since the mid-1960s has been notably outpacing both increases in the population and the economy (Muris et al. 1993). This increase in per capita consumption has come at the expense of both coffee and tap water. For example, in 1975 per capita consumption of coffee was 31.4 gallons compared to that of soft drinks (26.3 gallons). But by 2005 per capita soft drink consumption was more than double that of coffee: 51.5 gallons versus 24.2 gallons (USDA/Economic Research Service 2007). Since the late 1970s soft drink consumption in the United States has doubled among women and tripled for men. The highest consumption is among men between the ages of 12 and 29, consuming an average one-half gallon a day, or 160 gallons per year (Valentine, n.d.).