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La crisi delle bibite gassate in America 18.05.12

Negli Stati Uniti si registra un continuo calo nei consumi di bibite gassate.
Al contrario nel resto del mondo la domanda di soft drink non conosce crisi.

There are two major reasons to skeptical about the end of soda. First, soda sales haven't fallen that drastically. Second, even if U.S. consumers are shying away from soft drinks, the global market is still looking pretty sweet.

To get some additional statistics, I called up John Sicher, the publisher of Beverage Digest who provided the Times with their data. He told me that U.S. soda consumption is indeed falling overall, not just per person. Since 2006, Sicher said, the total volume of carbonated soft drink sales has fallen about 11 percent, from 10.2 billion cases to 9.3 billion. Some of that drop is the result of changing consumer preferences. Parts of the population are becoming more health conscious. Tastes are changing. We want energy drinks, Gatorade, organic tea, and artificially flavored, 0 calorie, vitamin-enhanced "water."

But there are also business forces at play that have nothing to do with how consumers feel about high fructose corn syrup or caffeine. Soda is extremely price-elastic, meaning that when it gets expensive, consumers buy much less of it. When it becomes cheaper, they buy more. For the past few years, economic conditions have conspired to make soft drinks pricier. Commodities costs have been a particularly big problem. Every time corn prices have spiked, they've made sweetener more expensive. Meanwhile, astronomically high oil prices have boosted the cost of plastic bottles and shipping.

America's thirst for colas, root beer and the like might finally be waning. We might just be looking for more variety in our drink menu. Or we might, in part, be responding to price signals. It's too early to tell what the long term trend will really be.

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