Top 10 Most Popular Soft Drinks (Sodas)

What are the top-selling soft drinks in the USA?

The carbonated soft drink (CSD) market is dominated by three players: Coca Cola Company, PepsiCo, and Keurig Dr Pepper. Each company markets a large number of brands, with Coca Cola Company having the larger market share.

This is reflected in drink sales with Coca-cola Classic continuing to outsell Pepsi.

The following 5 soft drinks have been the most popular since 2014:

Coca-Cola Classic
CAFFEINE
34 mg
CALORIES
140
PER SIZE
12 fl oz
Coca Cola Classic is the world's most popular caffeinated soft drink and it is made by the Coca Cola Company,…
Pepsi
CAFFEINE
38 mg
CALORIES
150
PER SIZE
12 fl oz
Pepsi is found in most places around the world and is the preferred cola of choice for many people. It…
Diet Coke
CAFFEINE
46 mg
CALORIES
0
PER SIZE
12 fl oz
Diet Coke is the most popular low-calorie soda worldwide. In different markets it is more popular than rival cola Diet…
Dr Pepper
CAFFEINE
42 mg
CALORIES
150
PER SIZE
12 fl oz
Dr Pepper is a popular soft drink made with 23 flavors to a secret recipe, the oldest major brand in…
Mountain Dew
CAFFEINE
54 mg
CALORIES
170
PER SIZE
12 fl oz
Mountain Dew is a popular citrus-flavored carbonated drink - stylized as Mtn Dew, and manufactured by PepsiCo. What surprises many…

Top 10 Soft Drinks

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. Pepsi
  3. Diet Coke
  4. Dr Pepper
  5. Mountain Dew
  6. Sprite
  7. Diet Pepsi
  8. Coke Zero
  9. Fanta
  10. Diet Mountain Dew

The overall Carbonated Soft Drink market has been in decline for years (and continues to decline into 2021). While sales in dollars have held up, volumes keep dropping as consumers look to functional beverages, and low-calorie alternatives.

Most Soft Drinks Are Caffeinated

Only two of the drinks in the top 10 are caffeine-free (Sprite and Fanta). While caffeine levels are modest, some of the diet drinks have more caffeine than expected.

What are the most caffeinated soft drinks? See our up-to-date list of the top 20 most caffeinated.

Energy drinks are a different category and market. See the top-selling energy drink brands here.

Who Owns Each Brand or Soft Drink?

The beverage industry is bewilderingly complex. Globally the entire carbonated beverage market size is valued at USD 406 Billion.

Different companies market a multitude of brands, and even have licensing agreements to supply other brands in different markets.

However the big players look like this:

Coca Cola Company

The company offers more than 500 brands in more than 200 countries.

  • Coca-cola
  • Sprite
  • Fanta
  • Powerade
  • Also Minute Maid, Glaceau, Barq’s, Fresca, Appletiser, and many more.

PepsiCo

PepsiCo has a number of food brands (Frito-Lay: Doritos, Fritos) as well as a large number of drink brands.  Some are surprising (for example, Sodastream belongs to PepsiCo.  Rockstar energy drinks were acquired by PepsiCo in 2020).

As already stated – the industry is confusing: PepsiCo has the rights to 7 Up outside North America, but it’s Keurig Dr Pepper who sell 7 Up inside the USA !

  • Pepsi
  • Mountain Dew
  • 7 Up (outside US)
  • Gatorade
  • Also Starbucks RTDs, Lipton, Soda Stream

Keurig Dr Pepper

What was Cadbury Schweppes, then became Dr Pepper Snapple Group. Which was then acquired by Keurig Green Mountain… which became Keurig Dr Pepper.

  • Dr Pepper
  • 7 Up (inside US)
  • Sunkist, Sun Drop, Schweppes, A&W, RC Cola.

Top Beverage Brands in the World in 2020

These brands are ordered by estimated brand value, and give a good indication of soft drink popularity. Note that beverage companies may own many different brands, which can even vary between regions.

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. Pepsi
  3. Red Bull
  4. Nescafé
  5. Sprite
  6. Monster
  7. Gatorade
  8. Lipton
  9. Mountain Dew
  10. Fanta
  11. Dr Pepper
  12. Tropicana
  13. 7-Up
  14. Twinings
  15. Lavazza

It’s important to note that many of the brands listed in the table above are subsidiaries of major brands like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

References

  • NBC News
  • Brand Directory Rankings (source).
  • From Beverage Industry Magazine as at 2018. Note that 2018 onwards individual sales numbers of a drink variant are very difficult to come by, and in many cases not publicly available. In most cases sales numbers are estimated by analysts.

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Written by James Foster, last updated on March 15, 2021