Coca-Cola beat PepsiCo in the regular CSD category

Coca-Cola beat PepsiCo in the regular CSD category

The Coca-Cola Co has outperformed PepsiCo in US regular CSD sales growth in the most recent quarter but both companies have seen diet soft drinks lose ground, new figures have shown.

According to analysts CLSA, citing SymphonyIRI numbers released today (7 March), PepsiCo's regular CSD sales fell by 1.9% in the 12 weeks to 23 February. In the same period, Coca-Cola increased category sales by 1%.

Coca-Cola's diet drinks, however, fared worse, down 7.8% in the 12-week period. PepsiCo also struggled in the period, with its diet beverages losing 7.9% of sales year-on-year.

The numbers help confirm fears in the US market that diet soft drinks are falling out of favour with consumers because of health concerns over artificial sweeteners. In October, Dr Pepper Snapple Group's CEO said he was “shocked” by the decline in diet sodas, and in August Coca-Cola launched a US ad campaign backing artificial sweetener aspartame.

Coca-Cola's performance in the regular CSD category, however, will be a boost to the company, which along with the soft drinks industry has seen CSD volumes in the US drop over the past two years. In fourth-quarter results released last month, Coca-Cola posted a 3% volumes drop in North American sparkling volumes. The drop helped drive a disappointing Q4 that dragged down FY numbers.