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    Turning From Regular Soft Drinks

    The market for regular soft drinks isn't so effervescent any more, according to a Mintel report released this week. In polling for the report, fielded in November, 68 percent of adults said they drink regular soft drinks, down from 76 percent in 2003 -- a loss of some 15.6 million consumers.

    The market for regular soft drinks isn't so effervescent any more, according to a Mintel report released this week. In polling for the report, fielded in November, 68 percent of adults said they drink regular soft drinks, down from 76 percent in 2003 -- a loss of some 15.6 million consumers.

    Diet soft drinks took up some of the slack, with the number of adults who consume those beverages increasing by 7.8 million during the same period, according to the report. Still, says Mintel, "The greatest changes in Americans' drinking habits have occurred outside the soft-drink market."

    The number of adults who drink bottled water rose by 24 million between 2003 and 2008, while the number consuming energy drinks jumped by more than 17 million. There was an increase of 11 million in the number of adults who consume sports drinks.

    Health concerns are the obvious factor in the shift from regular soft drinks. One element of this: 16 percent of Mintel's respondents said they "worry about the health risks of high-fructose corn syrup."

    But it's not as though the artificially sweetened alternatives get a free pass, with 15 percent of respondents saying they drink less of those beverages "because of risks."

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