The Diet Coke Bubble Also Pops

Tyler Durden's picture

With everyone focusing on the stock market and debating whether the second tech bubble has finally popped as it tends to do every so many years, another bubble also appears to have burst, and this time it is literally a bubble - that in carbonated diet coke. The WSJ reported that "for 13 years running, Americans have been drinking less Coke. Now Diet Coke sales are falling off a cliff. Globally, sales growth of soda is slowing amid concerns about sugar intake and obesity."

The trends are industrywide, but it is especially bad news for Coca-Cola Co. a company that derives almost 75% of its global sales volume from carbonated soft drinks. "Sugar water with bubbles is not the future of the world. There's an existential issue,'' said Tom Pirko, an industry consultant at Bevmark LLC.

Maybe. But don't tell that to the Atlanta-based company which instead of diversifying is doubling down by "boosting advertising, introducing new products, and using singer Taylor Swift as a pitchwoman."

The chart below summarizes the problem: while sales of Coke's flagship product, Coca-Cola, are down almost 10% since 2007, the real pain is in the Diet product whose sales have tumbled at double that rate.

The main reason for Diet Coke's woes: aspartame.

Coke is defending aspartame, the main artificial sweetener in diet soda, citing more than 200 studies affirming its safety. At the same time, it plans to roll out Coca-Cola Life, a moderate-calorie version sweetened with stevia plant extract, across more countries, after releasing the drink in Argentina and Chile last year.

For now, judging by actual sales numbers, the consumers aren't buying it.

The pace of Coke's global soda volume growth slowed to 1% last year from 3% in 2012 as concerns about health and obesity spread. Last month the World Health Organization suggested that individuals limit consumption of added sugars in food and drinks to 6 teaspoons a day—less than the 9 teaspoons in a 12-ounce can of Coke.


The new drag on Coke's U.S. business is diet soda. Diet Coke volume has been down for eight straight years, accelerating the decline in the past three. Diet Coke sales plunged 6.8%, in volume terms last year, according to Beverage Digest. Diet Pepsi sales fell 6.9%, but PepsiCo, with its enormous snacks and foods business, is far less dependent on soda than Coke is.


Soda volume in Mexico, Coke's second-largest market, have fallen an estimated 5% or more since the country introduced a tax on sugary beverages in January.

And visually:

The worst news for the food and beverage industry: if Americans (and Mexicans) are starting to care about the content of what they put in their mouth, the repercussions could be dire not only for soda companies, but certainly for makers of fast food - because it only takes a quick google search to find out just what is actually contained in that tasty-looking fried "burger."

On the other hand, with most untainted food products getting increasingly more expensive, it is doubtful if even the health considerations of the majority would trump their inability to purchase anything more nutritious than readily available fast food, which incidentally is also the reason for America's creeping healthcare catastrophe.

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Winston of Oceania's picture

Too fucking expensive!!

knukles's picture

Memes Lies & Propaganda

They say that the sales of soda are weak because of sugar and obesity concerns.
They say the sales of "DIET" Coke are plunging because of....?

Obesity and Sugar concerns?

Wait a minute!
It's one or the other.
So diet sales plunge in line with the PTB, NWO's, Administration's, Mooch's Meme that Sugary Drinks Are Bad so Diet...

You get the picture, Kids!
I Hope!

It's all about sugar or not sugar, that is the question

zerozulu's picture

People need no more Diet coke, they are loosing weight with hunger.

jbvtme's picture

sir, will you have a diet coke with that order of tremors?

James_Cole's picture

"Sugar water with bubbles is not the future of the world. There's an existential issue,'' said Tom Pirko, an industry consultant at Bevmark LLC.

Lol, thank gawd people are drinking less of this shit. 

NoDebt's picture

Reproductive issues?  I've been drinking that crap for decades.  I knocked my wife up twice on the first try.  Two kids = I've only had sex 2 times.

Quinvarius's picture

Sure it was you and not some guy who drinks lots of free healthy milk he gets from work?

TruthInSunshine's picture

Warren Buffett says Coke has a moat.

He also says to eat lots of Nestle Good Humor ice cream bars & drink lots of Coca-Cola while shopping at Nebraska Furniture Mart.

Honey Badger's picture

Check out SNMX - interesting food technology.

Hulk's picture

I have two kids , but have only had sex once !!! Go figure...

lordylord's picture

Diet tastes like shit and the aspartsame is a poison.  At least PBR gets you drunk.

nuclearsquid's picture

<--- Rot your teeth

<--- Pickle your kidneys

Mr. Magoo's picture

Heres a novel idea, dont drink soda and dont support the corporate industrial complex

Stanley Kubrick's picture

SO, Diet Coke sales down...and regular Coke sales down too, eh?

Mebbe it's nuthin' more than the EBT nation not seeing their monthly alloment matchin' Coke's rising prices (and shrinking packaging)

....or are you tellin' me that suddenly EBT nation woke up, got their fat asses off the couch, started workin' out and watch what they put in their pie hole?

Gotta be kidding me, man...


Jjake's picture

Sugar obviously causes obesity. However, there is alot of phosphoric acid added to diet coke. Phosphoric acid changes the ph in your body. Your body then needs to allocate iodine and other minerals, that are used to speed up motabolism, so it can digest the phosphoric acid. This in turn slows down your motabolism and makes you gain weight. So diet soda is just as bad as regular soda.   

1stepcloser's picture

You are correct



"With the patent for the very popular artificial sweetener aspartame recently being released to the public domain comes the bizarre news that it is actually “harvested” from the excrement of GM E. coli bacteria. Wait, what? What are we drinking when we decide to gulp down a soda that’s been sweetened with “artificial sweetener”? Yeah. You heard right. E. coli poop. Pretty awesome, huh?"

Overfed's picture

The ethanol in beer is yeast excreta.

1stepcloser's picture

I've ate my wife's yeast and I'm sure an occasional e.coli...I'm still living...Makes me STRONGER

Overfed's picture


Anywho, pickles, saurkraut, yogurt, and quite a few other tasty treats are also made with the excreta of bacteria. And isn't pennecillin just cultured potato mold?

Anusocracy's picture

And intestinal flora make a lot of nutrients your body uses.

1stepcloser's picture

I fucking hate ethanol...fucking up my fuel system parts....

knukles's picture

New and Improved!
Now made from 100% Pure Natural Organic Gluten Free Genetically Modified E. Coli Poop

logicalman's picture

My kids refer to it as Engine Cleaner!

Skateboarder's picture

Not that AB / MillerCoors beer-flavored water.

TheGardener's picture

Good riddance shitmongers !

But still kudos for brilliant alchemy, how to pack more sugar into shit than sugar would hold shit and still keep it liquid !

orangedrinkandchips's picture

1.) Too expensive

2.) tastes like shit

3.) asparatime is "safe" like asbestos. 

4.) im fat enough as it is thank you very little coke

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Ya, read up on the origins of aspartame. It's disgusting the chemicals we are convinced to ingest, fooled by the idea the these companies wouldn't poison us, and if they tried the FDA wouldn't let them. What a crock of shit. Sodas were never good for you, but what makes it a lot worse is the way your body breaks down high fructose corn syrup. Look at US obesity rates, how they jumped up when we started using that instead of real sugar. All because of sugar tariffs imposed on us to protect the profits of a few influential sugar Cain growing families in Florida. It's pathetic. But a coke from the ethnic foods aisle in your grocery store that says "hecho en Mexico" and see how much better it tastes. Every other country on earth has sodas with real sugar in them except us, all to protect a few people's profits. We have stopped eating real food in this country, and are eating and drinking poisons created in a lab.

Skateboarder's picture

+1 Carl. When buying packaged foods, never ever buy anything with ingredients you can't source yourself with ease. That's the key to good eating in the world of mostly fake plastic food.

Overfed's picture

I just wonder how it is that municipalities all over the world, but primarily in the US, have been conned into putting the toxic by-product of fertilizer manufacturing into the drinking water.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Ya that's always puzzled me too. Despite countless studies showing it to be harmful to your health, and it NOT helping your teeth, even in today people still vote to add it to their city water. Every campaign to end it gets outspend at least 3-4 to 1, same with labeling GMOs. And people don't seem to understand that maybe the people who spend millions in this just may not have your best interests in mind. Gotta say it was a brilliant (also evil) move, taking thousands of tons of waste that would cost millions to dispose of, and convincing half the world to PAY them many millions of dollars to mix it into their fucking drinking water.

Skateboarder's picture

I rarely drink from water fountains. Two trips ago when I went to my local skatepark, I took in a couple of gulps before spitting out what was in my mouth. It wasn't metals entirely - tasted like it was poisonous. Tried it again yesterday, except only a tongue test. Same shit. Something's gotten fucked in the last couple of months. The water (although fluoridated) didn't used to be alarmingly poisonous.

duo's picture

when I filled my hot tub with Dallas city water a few years back, I didn't have to add any chlorine.  The water coming out of the tap was already pool water strength.

Lux Fiat's picture

At least chlorine will off-gas and is relatively easy to filter.  However, a number of water districts are now using chloramines - something that not all chlorine filters can handle, and doesn't off-gas (which is why some water utilities have moved to it). 

We have a water purifier that gets rid of a lot of things in the city water, including fluoride (latest attempt to get the city to change its mind re fluoride didn't fly).  It was wild when we drank it for the first time - it tasted almost sweet.  Now can't stand the taste of tap H2O, not that it was great before.

The_Dude's picture

And you wonder why it seems the average intelligence of Americans continues to drop....maybe it was all part of the plan

TheGardener's picture

"When buying packaged foods,"

You just contradicted yourself, try staying away from any processed industrial feed that comes in "packages", most
of the time colored and semi-branded or worse bears the dubious mark of some big corporation. Source real and local food and refuse to pay extra, producers get paid cents on the dollar so offer 50 ct what the chains have for a dollar.

Organic ? Pay extra for apples with wrinkles that headed the dump some years ago ? Don`t be had, say fair value of what things used to cost and don`t compromise value producers with excessive margins.

Skateboarder's picture

Yeah, like anyone lives a 100% package-free life outside of living off the land permanently. Shouldn't be buying any packaged things at all, but of the ones you do go and buy, you have the choice to pick what goes into the food. We eat homecooked meals every meal - made from raw ingredients only. For niceties outside of meals, I don't have the time to make stuff like cream cheese every time I want to have just a little bit. But I can shell out the three or four bucks and get something decent from the store.


Nancy's 'Organic' cream cheese: Organic cream, nonfat dry milk, L. acidophilus, B. bifidum and 4 strains of Lactic cultures, salt.

Philadelphia cream cheese: Ingredients: Protein Concentrated Skim Milk, Skim Milk, contains less than 2% of Sodium Tripolyphosphate*, Sugar*, Xanthan Gum, Pasteurized Milk and Cream**, Salt, Artificial Color*, Carrageenan, Potassium Sorbate* and Calcium Propionate* as Preservatives, Cheese Culture, Sodium Phosphate*, Artificial Flavor*, Carob Bean Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate. *Ingredients not in Regular Cream Cheese. **Trivial Source of Fat.

logicalman's picture

The only excuse for buying packaged food is "I was REALLY drunk at the time"

I'm sure there's more nutritional value in the box than its contents.

corporatewhore's picture

thank Donald Rumsfield of Searle/Bush/DOD/

mr no nonsense has made a fortune from pushing this through the FDA


duo's picture

then google "milestone compost".  A fiasco bigger than Roundup is brewing.  Dow's Milestone herbicide is so persistent in the environment it is poisoning gardens in the US and UK.  All a deer has to do is eat some grass covered with this stuff, then pee on your garden and you won't be able to grow anything for years.

TheGardener's picture

I harvest any deer within a mile of my gardens, just for the sake of strolling around with my hunting dogs unmolested from keeping them on a leash in the "near abroad" :-)

cynicalskeptic's picture

Aspertame should not have been allowed - EVER - for human consumption.

 It was repeatedly rejected by the FDA but finally allowed under Reagan - another thing to thank Ronnie for.   It metabolizes into some VERY nasty stuff that does serious damage to humans.  Above 99 degrees it degrades into somethign found in embalming fluid (and what temp is your body normally?)   Brain cancer is one of the EXPECTED long term effects.

Have an attorney friend who worked to put together the corporate structure that shields Searle from the expected long term liabilities that are expected from aspartame.  e.g. They EXPECT lawsuits eventually (unless the corporate takover of government and the legal system is completed before then) - KNOWING there are 'issues' - like tobacco, and asbestos.


daveO's picture

The sugar ind. also attacked saccharin as unsafe. Then, the scientist behind those studies came out and said he rigged the tests by feeding rats the human equivalent of hundreds of pounds per day. So, they almost banned saccharin entirely before aspartame came along. Intentional, of course. I remember when Diet Shasta started switching over(early 80's). They first went with a blend of saccharin and aspatame which tasted ok, but not as good as original. Then they went full aspartame and I never bought another. Where are they now? Same place Diet Coke should already be, w/o the benefit of powerful marketing. Aspartame is poison. I still buy and use saccharin.