Coke Makes Extra Money From Your Guilt Over Drinking Coke

Sales of tiny Cokes are soaring as many Americans try to cut back on calories and sugar. But those adorably small Cokes come at a premium price.

Coke Makes Extra Money From Your Guilt Over Drinking Coke Photo (cc) by Tomasz Stasiuk

Less is more, sometimes. Coca-Cola is proving that with its sales of tiny sodas. They may be smaller and more expensive (per ounce) than their larger counterparts, but those adorable little cans and bottles of soda are flying off the shelves.

Many Americans are trying to cut back on sugar and calories, and soft drink companies have felt the pinch. “Soda consumption has declined persistently in recent years, with public health officials blaming it for making people fat and calling for special taxes and even warning labels on cans,” The Associated Press reports.

Americans who aren’t ready to give up soda seem to be more than willing to buy smaller versions – 7.5-ounce cans and 8-ounce bottles – of their favorite soft drinks. The bigger cans contain about 140 calories, compared with 90 calories in the smaller can. But Money said those little cans come with a hefty price tag:

Beyond their nontraditional size, what all of the smaller soda items have in common is that they’re “premium-priced packages.” Yes, the value proposition in the trendy category is that you not only get less product, but you get to pay more for the privilege. Coca-Cola estimates that consumers typically pay 31 cents for each traditional 12-ounce Coke purchased in a 12- or 24-pack at the supermarket. By contrast, the average price per 7.5-ounce mini can breaks down to 40 cents a pop.

Coca-Cola said it is selling less soda, but its revenue is actually up because the smaller cans and bottles are so popular, the AP said. “Sales of Coke’s smaller sizes, which include a 1.25-liter bottle as an alternative to the 2-liter bottle, were up 9 percent last year through October,” the AP reports.

Though Americans’ intentions are good when they buy the smaller cans of soda, unfortunately, they’re not actually reducing how much soda they drink, Money said.

The great (or sad) irony is that research shows that consumers tend to buy (and drink) far more sugary drinks when they’re purchased in smaller packages. Therefore, whatever health benefits may have been gained via the small size is likely outweighed by the fact that you’re consuming as many or more ounces of soda overall.

As cute as the mini cans and bottles of soda may be (I love them!), from a money-saving standpoint, if you’re concerned about the sugar and calories, you’d be better off buying the big brother version, drinking half the can, and tossing the rest in the garbage.

Soda is definitely my vice. I typically buy a 12-pack of cans. As it happens, I rarely drink an entire can and usually end up dumping half down the drain. I’m happy to discover that I’ve unknowingly been more cost-conscious by dumping the pop, rather than buying the smaller cans.

Are you a soda drinker? Do you buy the mini cans and bottles? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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