Hey North America: Why Aren't You Buying 20 Oz Bottles Of Coke?

Oh no! You know there’s something wrong with the economy when people stop buying (comparatively) expensive 20 oz bottles of Coke. The Wall Street Journal says that sales of Coke’s biggest profit-maker are down and its affecting the company’s bottom line.

From the WSJ:

Sold in corner groceries, vending machines and other outlets since the early 1990s, soft drinks in 20-ounce plastic bottles revitalized U.S. sales for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Inc. by getting Americans to drink larger servings. Because they are often sold at prices similar to a two-liter bottle, they have also been highly profitable for the companies’ bottlers.

Now, health concerns, aging baby boomers’ waning thirst for giant-size sodas and the softening economy are taking the fizz out of the 20-ounce bottle. While U.S. soda sales in major retail channels overall declined 3.5% in the first quarter, convenience-store sales dropped 4.2%, according to Beverage Digest, an industry publication. The 20-ounce bottle accounts for most convenience-store soda sales.

To win back sales, several Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottlers are conducting pilot tests on a variety of bottle sizes they hope will appeal to consumers put off by the 20-ounce bottle or looking for a cheaper option to cushion the blow of high food and energy prices.

Why have you stopped buying 20 oz Cokes? The WSJ says that Pepsi is testing a 16 oz model. Will you buy that?

20-oz Sales Lose Fizz [WSJ]
(Photo: Ben Popken )