Soft drink canIn 1999, Australians drank 113 litres of soft drink per person per year, or 300 ml per person per day (ABS). An international survey in 2002 put Australia sixth in the world for soft drink consumption, consuming an average of 100.1 litres each per year. This was still less than half of the 216 litres consumed by the average American. The biggest consumers of soft drink were adolescent males, who drank an average of one litre per day.

Over the following two decades, soft drink consumption began to decline as health messages on the dangers of sugar became more frequent. However, drinks such as energy drinks and iced teas, and even fruit juices, are still defined as “sugary drinks” and thus pose a danger of excess sugar consumption.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that in 2017-18,  around one in two (48.0%) adults consumed either sugar sweetened drinks or diet drinks at least once per week. The ABS found that sugar-sweetened drinks were more popular than diet drinks with 36.2% of people consuming sugar sweetened drinks at least once per week compared with 17.7% of people consuming diet drinks. One in eleven people (9.1%) consumed sugar sweetened drinks daily, while 22.6% consumed them on 1-3 days per week, while 63.8% did not consume them at all.

Consumption of soft drinks was found to be higher among men, younger people, and disadvantaged groups. People living in outer regional and remote areas were the biggest consumers and the Northern Territory had the highest rate of consumption. At the time of the ABS survey, among those who drank sugar sweetened drinks daily, men drank an average of 825 ml or 2.2 cans per day compared with 625 ml for women.

A Roy Morgan survey in 2016 found that in an average seven days, 62.3% of Australian children drink fruit juice/drinks at least once, 57.8% consume carbonated soft drink, 32.4% drink cordial and 28.6% consume frozen drinks.