Apparently the Great Depression in the United States is to blame for the mega-sized soda drinks that many now consume on a daily basis, except in New York City of course (sugary drinks larger than 16oz were banned for sale in restaurants beginning September 13, 2012).
[div class=attrib]From Wired:[end-div]
The New York City Board of Health voted Thursday to ban the sale of sugary soft drinks larger than 16 ounces at restaurants, a move that has sparked intense debate between public health advocates and beverage industry lobbyists. When did sodas get so big in the first place?
In the 1930s. At the beginning of the Great Depression, the 6-ounce Coca-Cola bottle was the undisputed king of soft drinks. The situation began to change in 1934, when the smallish Pepsi-Cola company began selling 12-ounces bottles for the same nickel price as 6 ounces of Coke. The move was brilliant. Distribution, bottling, and advertising accounted for most of the company’s costs, so adding six free ounces hardly mattered. In addition, the 12-ounce size enabled Pepsi-Cola to use the same bottles as beer-makers, cutting container costs. The company pursued a similar strategy at the nation’s soda fountains, selling enough syrup to make 10 ounces for the same price as 6 ounces worth of Coca-Cola. Pepsi sales soared, and the company soon produced a jingle about their supersize bottles: “Pepsi-Cola hits the spot, 12 full ounces, that’s a lot. Twice as much for a nickel, too. Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you.” Pepsi’s value-for-volume gambit kicked off a decades-long industry trend.
Coke was slow to respond at first, according to author Mark Pendergrast, who chronicled the company’s history in For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It. President Robert Woodruff held firm to the 6-ounce size, even as his subordinates warned him that Pepsi was onto something. By the 1950s, industry observers predicted that Coca-Cola might lose its dominant position, and top company executives were threatening to resign if Woodruff didn’t bend on bottle size. In 1955, 10- and 12-ounce “King Size” Coke bottles hit the market, along with a 26-ounce “Family Size.” Although the new flexibility helped Coca-Cola regain its footing, the brave new world of giant bottles was hard to accept for some. Company vice president Ed Forio noted that “bringing out another bottle was like being unfaithful to your wife.”
The trend toward larger sizes occurred in all sectors of the market. When Coca-Cola partnered with McDonald’s in the 1950s, the original fountain soda at the restaurant chain more closely approximated the classic Coke bottle at seven ounces. The largest cup size grew to 16 ounces in the 1960s and hit 21 ounces by 1974.
[div class=attrib]Read the entire article after the jump.[end-div]
[div class=attrib]Image: Big Gulp. Courtesy of Chicago Tribune.[end-div]