ATLANTA -- Diet Coke outsold Pepsi cola in the U.S. for the first time in 2010, making the diet soda the No. 2 carbonated soft drink in the country behind Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola sold nearly 927 million cases of its diet soda in 2010, compared with Pepsi's 892 million, according to Beverage Digest data released mid-March. Diet Coke was nearly neck in neck with Pepsi a year earlier. Regular Coke held its longstanding lead in 2010 at 1.6 billion cases.
Soft-drink sales have fallen for the past six consecutive years, hit by the recession and by the growing trend of consumers seeking healthier alternatives. Indicative of the trend is that diet sodas have been gaining a larger piece of the pie. Ten years ago, only two of the top 10 sodas were sugar-free. Now, four are on the list: the diet versions of Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Dr Pepper.
While both Diet Coke and Pepsi sales were down in 2010, the decline was more pronounced for Pepsi. Coca-Cola Co. sold 0.5% less soda in 2010 and PepsiCo sales fell 2.6%.
The top 10 sodas in the U.S. in order of popularity, according to Beverage Digest, are Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Dr Pepper, Sprite, Diet Pepsi, Diet Mountain Dew, Diet Dr Pepper and Fanta.