Market Leaders In The Soft Drink Manufacturing Industry

  • By: Max S.
  • Date: November 21, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Soft drinks are non-alcoholic beverages. Depending on where you’re at, they may be called soda, pop, fizzy drinks, juices, or soft drinks. These popular beverages are made using sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavoring agents, and water.

But with increasing awareness about the effects of excess sugar intake, more manufacturing companies are introducing diet or sugar-free versions of their regular sodas.

In 2021, the global market size of the soft drink industry was valued at $416.19 billion and is expected to increase by just over 5% in the next 5 to 7 years. Currently, the demand for gluten-free, low-sugar, and low-calorie products is the major contributor to the growth of the global soft drinks market.

Despite its massive growth over the years, this industry is still booming. This is partly due to the increasing attention to health and comfort. Soda is an element of a balanced diet, and because of its healthy ingredients, such as vitamins and minerals, it contributes to a healthy lifestyle. 

But the industry’s growth is also attributed to the marketing strategies, top-notch production, wide variety, and consumer satisfaction provided by the businesses in this industry. 

Read on to discover the biggest market players in the soda manufacturing industry. You can also read here to learn about who owns Dr Pepper soda.

Who Are The Biggest Players In The Soda Manufacturing Industry?

mixed variety of soda cans

Although there are numerous soda manufacturing companies, only a few industry players account for most of the total market share. These companies are the Coca-cola Company, PepsiCo, and Keurig Dr Pepper. 

According to Statista, these three players dominated the carbonated soft drinks market in the US in 2021, controlling 93.6% of the total market share (Coca-cola led with 43.6%, PepsiCo ranked second with 25.6%, and lastly, Keurig Dr Pepper with 21.7%).

While 93% is a huge percentage to control, it’s not surprising, as the three big players held over 66% of the US soft drinks market share back in 2010. 

So, who are these players, and what brands do they own? Let’s find out!

The Coca-cola Company

coca cola plant

Coca-cola is the leading global company in the carbonated soft drinks market, controlling almost half of the total market volume in the US. And its control of the market is expected to increase in the coming years.

This multinational company began with the creation of Coca-cola in 1886 by Dr. John Pemberton in Atlanta, Georgia. But it was only when Dr. Pemberton sold the ownership rights of coca-cola to Asa Briggs Candler that the business started dominating the soft drink industry.

In creating soda, the company produces a concentrate that is sold to bottlers worldwide, who then make the finished products in cans and bottles. Concentrates are not exclusively sold to bottlers but are also sold to major soda fountains and restaurants.

According to Interbrands ‘best global brands study of 2020,’ Coca-cola was the sixth most valuable company in the world, and this conglomerate was also ranked no. 87 in the 2018 fortune 500 list of largest US corporations.

In addition, The Coca-cola Company owns over 200 brands worldwide, selling in over 200 countries. Twenty-one of them makes over $1 billion per year in revenue. Some of their soda brands are:

  • Barq’s Root Beer
  • Coca-cola
  • Diet Coke
  • Fanta
  • Fresca
  • Sprite
  • Mello Yello
  • Fuze
  • Powerade, etc

PepsiCo

pepsi plant

PepsiCo is the second leading soft drink manufacturing company. They are also the second-largest food and beverage business in the world based on net revenue, profit, and market capitalization, behind Nestlé.

Even though PepsiCo controls only a little over half of the soft drink market volume coca-cola controls in the US, their stake in the industry is almost as significant as that of Coca-cola. This is one reason why the rivalry between the two companies, which has lasted for generations, may last longer.

PepsiCo currently owns over 500 brands, with 23 making over $1B per year in revenue. While Coca-cola has more sales than PepsiCo in the US, the latter is the leading brand in North America based on net revenue. Some PepsiCo brands include:

  • Mirinda
  • Mountain Dew
  • Gatorade
  • Pepsi Cola
  • Pepsi Zero Sugar
  • Bubbly
  • 7UP
  • Pepsi Max
  • Tropicana, etc

Keurig Dr Pepper

dr pepper plant

Keurig Dr Pepper was formerly known as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters until 2014 and Keurig Green Mountain until 2018. This company was created from the merger between Keurig Green Mountain and the Dr Pepper Snapple group.

According to Statista, in 2021, Keurig Dr Pepper controlled 21.7% of the soft drinks market volume, 4% behind PepsiCo, making them the third leading soft drink manufacturing company in the US. In the same year, this beverage and coffee-maker conglomerate was the fastest-growing brand, with a 40% brand value increase.

Besides being a producer of sodas, juices, teas, and sparkling water, among other beverages, Keurig Dr Pepper is also famous for manufacturing brewing machines, coffee, coffee beans, and hot cocoa. In fact, the soda manufacturing division is handled by Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the owners of Dr Pepper soda until the merger.

Interestingly, Dr Pepper, the leading soft drink brand of this company, was the first soda to be manufactured and sold in 1885, a year before coca-cola and a few years before Pepsi-cola. Some brands of Keurig Dr Pepper are:

  • Dr Pepper
  • Sundrop
  • Sunkist
  • Crush
  • Squirt
  • Canada Dry
  • Schweppes
  • Motts
  • Snapple, etc

Other Market Players In the Soda Manufacturing Industry

The other percentage of market volume (6.3% in the US as of 2021) is controlled by small but significant players in the industry. Some of these players are Cheerwine and National Beverage Corporation.

National Beverage Corporation

founder national soda brand
National Beverage Corp founder – Nick Caporella

In 2021, this company was the fourth leading soda brand based on market volume share, with control over 0.5% of the total soft drinks market share in the US. National Beverage Corp is a manufacturer and distributor of multi-flavored and cola soft drinks, juice and juice products, flavored carbonated and spring water products, and specialty items.

It was formed by Nick Caporella in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1985. National Beverage production facilities run across the nation, including states like California, Kansas, Georgia, Michigan, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Utah, Texas, and Washington. Some brands of this company are Everfresh, NiCola, Shasta, Faygo, LaCroix, Rip It, Mr. Pure, and Clear Fruit.

Carolina Beverage Corporation (Cheerwine)

Carolina beverage company

Although Cheerwine is a soda manufactured and distributed by Carolina Beverage Corporation, it is responsible for 0.2% of the total US soft drink market volume. This soda was first produced in North Carolina in 1917 but became a registered trademark in 1926. It’s a proud drink of the south, as is Big Red.

Carolina Beverage Corp is a family-run business, and the current CEO is the great-grandson of the founder, Lewis Peeler. Besides producing soda, the company also manufactures and markets Cheerwine-flavored ice cream, sherbet, and cream bars, mainly in Food Lion, a Salisbury, North Carolina–based supermarket chain. 

Cheerwine-flavored floats and iced slushies are also produced by the company and can be found in restaurants down south.

Conclusion

The same companies have led the soda industry for many years. And by developing products that satisfy customers, implementing excellent market strategies and other techniques, these companies have stayed on top despite the competitiveness of this industry.

The market leaders in the soft drink manufacturing industry are The Coca-cola Company, PepsiCo, and Keurig Dr Pepper. These three companies control over 90% of the soft drink market volume in the US.

Other significant players in the industry include National Beverage Corporation and Carolina Beverage Corp (Cheerwine).