What you need to know

The CSD category has faced several years of sales declines, the result of artificial ingredients, sweeteners, sugar concerns, links to obesity and diabetes, and other health issues. Total retail sales of carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) is expected to decline through 2020 as negative diet soda sales continue to overtake regular sales gains, falling 1.3% from 2015-20 to $35.6 billion. The category struggles as the diet CSD segment sours and leading companies increase prices to make up for lost sales volume. Opportunities exist in the $36 billion category to strengthen brand trust, authenticity, and experience, particularly through trending natural and craft CSDs segments.


For the purposes of this report, Mintel has used the following definition: Carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) are non-alcoholic beverages that have added carbonation. This includes beverages with a range of flavors, sweeteners, and colors. Colas, non-colas, craft, natural, and Stevia-sweetened CSDs are combined in the regular and diet segments.

This report divides the market into two segments:

  • Regular carbonated soft drinks, including full-calorie and reduced/mid-calorie soft drinks

  • Diet or zero calorie soft drinks

This report spotlights natural/craft CSDs because of their growing popularity and better-for-you and natural trends. Mintel defines these as CSDs labeled as natural, feature real sugar and/or plant-based sweeteners, and/or contain 100% natural ingredients. Craft CSDs are defined as being manufactured in small batches, includes more natural ingredients, and/or is labeled as “craft” or “hand-crafted.”

Excluded from this report:

  • Sparkling water brands, carbonated energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages

  • Sales of carbonated beverages through fountains and foodservice (restaurants, cafeterias, food trucks, etc)

The market size in this report differs from Carbonated Soft Drinks – US, June 2015:

  • The seltzer/club soda/tonic water segment is now excluded

  • Regular and diet soft drink estimates have been changed due to the incorporation of additional data in the calculations

  • The definition of reduced/mid-calorie beverages are now included with regular soft drinks

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