For decades, diet sodas have been the beverage of choice at QSR’s – especially for consumers counting calories, yet still craving carbonation with their burger and fries.
But as more and more QSR customers demand healthier meal options, many are abandoning this artificially sweetened beverage for drinks that are a little more natural – namely teas and bottled waters.
According to new figures from Beverage Digest, diet sodas have been experiencing a 10-year slide in the US. And despite the industry’s massive advertising assault, carbonated soft drink volume continues to decline year-over-year: 1% in 2011, 1.2% in 2012, 3% in 2013.
John Sicher, editor and publisher at Beverage Digest, commented, "The industry's headwinds are not abating, and results are worsening…This puts a premium on sweetener innovation."
As more and more consumers look to eliminate unnatural and processed foods from their diets, the fate of diet sodas might be sealed. These beverages often convey a negative connotation; the word “diet” leads consumers to believe they’re missing out on something good. But by utilizing words like “fresh” and “all natural” when promoting new beverage items, consumers believe they can feel good about their choices.
In fact, QSR’s have already started pushing new beverages – including freshly brewed teas and flavored waters – on their menu boards and promotional signage in an effort to get consumers to replace their diet soda.