This report provides a comprehensive summary and analysis of the supply chains and marketing practices of some of the nation’s major beverage companies. The report looks at how companies produce, distribute and sell non-alcoholic soft drinks to the American consumer. It also examines some of these companies’ marketing practices and the ways in which they’ve reacted to recent state and local efforts to enact taxes on some sugar-sweetened beverages.

The report notes that the three major beverage companies, The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Inc., and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, account for nearly two-thirds of soft drink production—an industry with $47 billion per year in revenue. Nearly half of all beverages produced by the industry are sold in supermarkets and by general merchandisers like Target and Wal-Mart. For the purposes of this report, the term soft drinks includes the main products of the industry: diet and non-diet carbonated beverages, fruit drinks, bottled waters, sports drinks, energy drinks and ready-to-drink coffees and teas.

The second half of the report provides an analysis of beverage companies’ marketing strategies and tactics, as well as how those strategies and tactics have changed recently in response to public health concerns. The final section analyzes how companies have responded to recent state and local efforts to enact taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, both by changing some of their internal production practices and by lobbying and marketing to prevent such taxes from being enacted.

The report, called “Breaking Down the Chain: A Guide to the Soft Drink Industry,” was produced by the National Policy and Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN) with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.