Sugar the new tobacco? Bottled water to soon surpass soft drinks

|By:, SA News Editor

"I've never seen anything like it," says Beverage Marketing Corporation chief Michael Bellas, as bottled water continues to grab market share from soft drinks. Coca-Cola (KO) and Pepsi (PEP) have obviously noticed and cary their own bottled water lines, but these are low margin. Both have failed to gain much traction in the more profitable business of so-called enhanced waters.

Nearly 90% of doctors globally tie the epidemics of type II diabetes and obesity to excess sugar consumption, according to a loud new Credit Suisse report, titled, "Is Sugar Turning The Economy Sour?"

Sugar - and its cousin high fructose corn syrup - can be found in pretty much every single item of processed food available nowadays, but the biggest villain is soft drinks, with CS estimating 43% of added sugars in our diets coming from sweetened beverages. "Recent research shows that as the sugar is in a solution, it is easily and completely ingested, giving a large injection of calories without the consequential feeling of being full." The good news (or bad news if you own a purveyor of sugar) is the public is catching on - though this varies significantly by demographic.

Public policy is catching on too, with Credit Suisse - in a nod to tobacco - noting sugar "meet(ing) the criteria for being a potentially addictive substance." Mexico (not Bloomberg's NYC) may provide the first test case as the President has proposed a tax on sales of sugary drinks.

More on the CS report and sugar from Izabella Kaminska.