Why is a 20 oz soda more expensive than a two liter.

The thread here about the price of milk got me wondering about this.
Anyway I see this fairly often. I’ll go into the convenience store and see two-liters of Coke on special for 99 cents. And in the refrigerated case just a few feet away they’ll have 20 oz bottles for $1.50. About 50 less ounces for 50 cents more. So what gives?

Two different markets. One for the teenagers and folks just grabbing something to drink now, who don’t pay that much attention to what they pay.

The other more for people buying for families who check prices carefully.

It’s cold, fits in your cup holder, and is easily finishable in one sitting by a normal human. Not something you can say about a 2 liter.

Because most people who buy a 20 oz bottle do so to drink right then, not to bring home, put in the fridge, and pour glasses from over a period of time. You can pay less to get the 2 liter bottle, but then you have 2 liters of soda, and if you just want a drink with your lunch that’s quite excessive & heavy.

No, I don’t think it’s that they don’t check prices carefully. It’s that if you are buying lunch, do you really want to carry around a 2 liter bottle? And who would even drink that much in one sitting?

It’s because the 2-liter won’t fit in your cup holder.

That’s only a half joke. People, especially in convenience stores, buy a 20-oz bottle because that’s the size they’re looking for. It’s considered a suitable size for individual consumption, can be drunk from on the go, and will indeed fit in your cup holder. That convenience carries a premium that most people have proved willing to pay.

A 2-liter, on the other hand, is something you take home and stick in the fridge. You’re not supposed to chug from it as a single serving container. And even if you are inclined to do that (as I have been known to do), it makes a terrible on-the-go container.

The demand for 2-liters is different in nature from 20-oz bottles, and is certainly less overall. Single-serving bottles are often an impulse item, bought for convenience and an immediate need. (“I’m thirsty now…I’ll buy a Coke!”) This commands a relatively high premium that the market is obviously willing to bear. Larger containers, on the other hand, are bought as a product of forethought. (“I might be thirsty at home, better pick up a big bottle of Coke.”) As such, the perceived value at the moment of purchase is lower.

It’s the same reasons stated in the milk thread.

Why are they selling 7.5 oz. cans of soda? It’s not even a cup, it’s a sample size and should be free.

While all the above reasons are valid, I always thought that most important reason was that the 20oz bottles are cold, while the 2-liters are not. Part of the convenience you’re paying for is the fact that the liquid you are purchasing is cold.

Often there are 2-liter bottles in the refrigerated case right along side the 20 oz bottles, so that’s not it.

It’s more expensive because the demand for the smaller, more convenient 20oz is higher at the point of purchase.

The beverage company can either lower the 20oz price or raise the 2 liter price to make you feel as though it makes sense, but in doing so they’d lower the margin on the 20oz soda to something that might not make it as profitable as it needs to be, or they could adversely affect the sales of the 2 liter soda, affecting total revenue and profit.

This question reminds me of a travel column I read by Joe Brancatelli a long long time ago. He compared airline seat pricing to pricing for diet coke.

In it, he ranted that it was perfectly acceptable for him to buy the less expensive 2-liter, drink only half of it, and dump the rest out, but for some reason if he tried to do that with airline tickets, he was such a rotten customer and they would upcharge him for (metaphorically) the price of the 20oz bottle.

I believe the initial motivation was a size that would fit in a lunchbox.

More recently there has been a move to take existing snacks, shrink them, and sell them as low-cal, small-portion snacks. You can find a lot of 100 calorie products on the market now.

The 2L is not a single serving size? I don’t often drink coffee, so a 2L bottle of Diet Coke is my daily caffeine fix. At one point, I used to buy a 2L bottle, and transfer it into 2x1L bottles, as they were more convenient. Now I just don’t care, and I don’t care if it goes to room temperature anyway.

This sort of pricing happens quite a bit… though if you pay attention to the shelf unit price tags, you’ll often find items that the larger container is more expensive per unit (oz/gr/ml etc.)

Seeing as I’m a cheapskate, I have been known the buy the 2 liter version for personal use if it is cheaper. And, for milk, I can’t comprehend not pouring out the bad milk when it goes bad, if it’ll cost me less.

Obligatory Onion link: Coca-Cola Introduces New 30-Liter Size

It’s so people can drink an entire can and consume 90 calories instead of 140.

It is part of it. Around here, only the warm 2 liters go on sale for 99 cents. Cold ones, even in the same store are regular price (about $1.89)

I’ve never seen that around here. Cold or warm, they have the same price.

a) Wasting food feels wrong. It irks me and stresses me out. I’d rather waste more money.

b) You would have to keep careful track as to when the milk goes bad or the soda goes flat. You can only do that easily when you’re about to use the product – you have to taste every time, if it went bad – that’s the point at which you know you don’t have anymore. This is going to be disappointing every time because you can see when you’re running low on something but you can’t really see when something is going to go bad tomorrow.

Bad Onion! A 30-liter bottle of Coke wouldn’t weigh anywhere near 274 pounds. A liter of water (which is what Coke basically is) is one kilogram, and a kilogram is 2.2 pounds, so 30 liters would weigh somewhere between 60 and 70 pounds.

Lordy, we really have “supersized” our junk food expectations in recent years, haven’t we? The standard size of a commercial bottle of soda pop used to be 6.5 ounces.