Soda sales just fell for the 12th year in a row (KO, PEP)

Coca-Cola Classic cans

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Sales of soda drinks decreased about 1.2 percent in the United States in 2016, falling for the 12th year in a row, a report by trade publication Beverage Digest showed, as demand was hit by consumer choosing healthier options and a slew of sugar taxes aimed at stemming obesity and diabetes.

The per capita consumption of soda drinks, including energy drinks, fell to about 642 8-ounce servings last year, the lowest level since 1985, when the Beverage Digest began tracking consumption trends, the publication said on Wednesday.

However, total sales dollars increased 2 percent to $80.6 billion as soft drink makers aggressively pushed smaller packs at higher prices per ounce, while lowering emphasis on large discounts packs, the Beverage Digest said.

Soda makers such as Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc have been relying on smaller pack sizes and premium packaging to drive margins in developed markets. They are also making more non-carbonated drinks as well as reformulating drinks to lower sugar levels and launch sugar-free versions.

These measures come amid a wave of sugar tax approvals in the United States and Europe.

The consumption of added sugar in foods and beverages has been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. The World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Heart Association have all recommended reducing consumption of soda as a way to cut down on added sugars. 

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