Smaller Is Better for Soft Drinks

Coke sees sales jump in small cans and bottles

In a world of club and super-sized products, why would Coca-Cola and other soft drink makers be selling smaller cans and bottles?  That's because shoppers are buying them.

According to San Diego State University marketing professor Steven Osinski, the growth of Coke's smaller cans and bottles has increased by 17 percent over the past year.

"With the smaller packaging and the less caloric intake, they may actually be opening up to new customers," said Osinski.

Coke promoted the smaller sizes in this year's Super Bowl commercial.

Coke has sold the small sizes for a few years. While soft drink sales have been falling, the sale of the smaller sizes is growing. A normal Coke can is 12 ounces; the smaller cans are 7 1/2 ounces. The normal sized plastic bottle is 20 ounces, while the smaller bottle is 8 ounces.

Shopper John Lena said the popularity of smaller sizes is obvious. "People think in their head that if they're getting smaller it's not as bad for me," he said.

Steven Osinski agreed, saying, "They are dealing with the guilt factor."

Smaller sized cans and bottles generally cost more per ounce, but some shoppers like Mayana Frederickson said bigger sizes are too much.

"I never drink a whole one," Frederickson said.

But there can be a problem for people choosing smaller sizes for health reasons: what if one can or bottle isn't enough?

"At the end of the day you're going to say this is really good," said Osinski, "I'm going to have two of them."

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