March 9 (Reuters) - It's official: Americans are now drinking more bottled water than soda.
After decades-long streak of strong growth, bottled water surpassed carbonated soft drinks to become the largest beverage category by volume in the United States in 2016, according to research and consulting firm Beverage Marketing Corp.
The shift comes amid widespread concerns about the health effects of sugary beverages.
Several U.S. cities voted for soda tax in November, in a bid to battle diet-related diseases, including obesity and diabetes.
Bottled-water consumption in the United States reached 39.3 gallons per capita last year, while carbonated soft drinks slipped to 38.5 gallons, Beverage Marketing Corp said.
In contrast, per capita soda consumption regularly exceeded 50 gallons in the late 1990s and early 2000s, according to the report.
Total bottled water volume rose about 9 percent to 12.8 billion gallons in 2016, compared with a year earlier.
"When Perrier first entered the country in the 1970s, few would have predicted the heights to which bottled water would eventually climb," said Michael Bellas, chairman and chief executive, Beverage Marketing Corp. (Reporting by Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)