NEW YORK: Beverage Digest, the Samuel Pepys of the US soft drinks industry, reports a growing slide in sales volume of carbonated beverages - down 0.6% in 2006, three times the decline registered in 2005.

Meantime, Beverage Marketing Corporation reports an even greater fall of 1.1%, reducing carbonated drinks' US market share to 50.9% of the whole. To put the decline in context, the overall liquid-refreshment category grew by 2.8%.

Which means that the two ruling Cola Czars now rely on energy drinks to stem the sales hemorrhage, as Michael Bellas, chairman/ceo of BMC notes: "Beverages offering functional benefits are growing two to three times faster than conventional refreshment beverages."

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo will this year respectively launch Diet Coke Plus and Tava, while Cadbury Schweppes aims to put extra muscle into 7Up Plus which has been on the market since 2004.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff