Soda is more affordable than water in the United States, and the difference is reflected in retail prices. Stores often charge a high fee for shelf space and special displays, which can be thousands of dollars per visit. While the cost of selling soda is lower, the manufacturers also suffer because they must pay for the costs of distributing it. New products also incur higher costs, which is counterproductive for their bottom line. Retail stores also know which products sell well, so they will welcome them with open arms.
Soda is the third most popular beverage worldwide. However, the United States still consumes less than half as much bottled water as it does soda. Water is also cheaper than bottled soda in many countries. The Beverage Marketing Corporation estimates that bottled water will exceed soda in sales in the United States this year. That’s an incredible achievement for public health and environmental conservation. It’s also good news for water utilities, since it reduces the need for bottled water.
Another reason why soda is more affordable than water is because retailers aren’t competing for shelf space. They pay thousands of dollars for shelf space and cardboard stands, and those prices are passed along to consumers. The sugary drinks are also more profitable for retailers, as their advertising campaigns often include links to unhealthy products. Soda is a healthier option, but is it healthier? That’s a topic for another article.