I love comparing prices to see which brands offer the best value and savings. So when it comes to comparing the costs of soda, I did some investigative research on the two biggest soda brands. Let the Coke vs. Pepsi price battle begin.
But before I do that, I’ve got some bad news. While overall inflation is kinda sorta on its way down, food inflation is still way the heck up. And soda is part of that.
There are a few reasons for this. First, one of Russia’s major exports is aluminum, and since very few people are trading with them since they invaded Ukraine, there’s less supply of aluminum in the market. Separately, sugar — a primary ingredient of soda —is also expected to see a price increase this year.
In the meantime, I studied some Coke and Pepsi prices to see which brand gets you the better deal each time. I looked at the cost per can, cost per 2-liter, and cost per ounce. I also compared prices at various retailers to find out where I can save the most on soda.
For more money-saving tips, download the KCL app or text HACKS to 57299 for coupons that’ll save you even more.
1. A can of cola usually costs between $0.44 and $0.73.
Depending on the brand and where you shop, a can of cola usually costs between $0.44 and $0.73. Now, $0.73 is definitely on the high end. Because there are a bunch of retailers that sell on the low end of the pricing spectrum, we recommend you never pay that $0.73 per can price.
TIP: Don’t buy Pepsi or Coke on Amazon. You’ll pay anywhere from double to quadruple the price.
2. Don’t pay more than $3 for a 2-liter of soda.
If you’re paying more than $3 for a 2-liter, you’re probably paying too much. (Depending on where you live). In most markets, you can find 2-liters for under $3 regularly at stores like Target, Walmart, Giant Eagle, Kroger, and Albertsons.
3. The goal is to pay no more than $0.04 per fluid ounce.
Regardless of which brand you’re buying, and regardless of whether you’re buying cans or 2 liters, you want to aim for the price point of $0.04 per fluid ounce.
To figure out the price per unit, you’d multiply the number of fluid ounces in a can and multiply that by the number of cans in the package. This is your total fluid ounces.
Then, you’d take the total price and divide it by the total fluid ounces. For example, if you were buying 12, 12-fluid-ounce cans of Pepsi at Target for $7.19, your formula would look like this:
12 fluid ounces x 12 cans = 144 fluid ounces
$7.19 / 144 fluid ounces = $0.05 per fluid ounce
Because the price is above $0.04, this would be a do-not-buy.
The ideal price per fluid ounce is actually the same for 2 liters, at $0.04 per fluid ounce. There are 67.628 fluid ounces in a 2-liter. So if you picked up a bottle of Pepsi at Kroger, your formula would look like this:
$2.99 / 67.628 fluid ounces = $0.04 per fluid ounce
This would put it in the OK-to-buy range, but that doesn’t mean Kroger actually has the lowest price. Let’s look at why.
4. Cost per ounce can hide the true winners.
When you’re calculating the price per ounce, you’re calculating tens and sometimes even hundreds of fluid ounces into a comparatively small amount of dollars. That means that even products that span in price by up to $0.50 or more can still come out with the same price per fluid ounce.
So even though Walmart is charging $0.51 less than Kroger and Albertsons, and $0.21 less than Target, all three appear to have the same price per fluid ounce. You’d have to push your calculations out a few more decimal points for the price per fluid ounce to really reveal itself.
5. The cost per can may hide the best price, too, but it’s marginal.
When you’re purchasing cans, you can get a little bit of a better idea of who has the best price by comparing the price per 12-fluid ounce can, though it doesn’t quite reveal everything. That formula would look like this for Pepsi at Target:
$7.19 / 12 cans = $0.60 per can
If you kick things out one more decimal place, Albertsons Pepsi costs $0.437 per can whereas Sam’s Club costs $0.438 per can. This makes Albertsons ever so slightly cheaper. But the difference is so small it’s almost not worth noting.
Same thing with the difference between Sam’s Club and Costco. You’re paying a penny more at Costco, but that’s divided over 36 cans, so it’s only $0.0002 more expensive per can.
6. Walmart has the best prices on 2 liters.
TIP: Keep an eye out for manufacturer soda coupons. These can frequently save you as much as $1.50 per 2 liter wherever you shop.
7. Sam’s Club has the best pricing on Coke cans.
Sam’s Club is the clear winner when it comes to pricing on Coke cans. Coke cans tend to be more expensive than Pepsi cans, starting at $0.50 per fluid ounce.
8. Costco, Sam’s Club & Albertsons all tie for the best price per Pepsi can.
We’ve already seen how Costco, Sam’s Club, and Albertsons all have nearly identical pricing on Pepsi cans, coming out to $0.44 per can. If you want to bump things out a few more decimals, the pricing difference between these three stores is fractions of a penny per can.
One thing to note is that Albertsons is currently selling Pepsi cans at a lower price than usual. We expect the pricing to go up in the coming months, which will leave Sam’s Club and Costco as the reigning champions.
9. You’ll pay pretty much the same price for cans or 2 liters.
At the end of the day, whether you buy a 2 liter or cans doesn’t really affect the end pricing. You should still be aiming to pay $0.04 per fluid ounce.
Because there’s no price difference, just pick based on your personal preference. If you don’t drink soda fast enough for a 2-liter to not go flat, grab the cans. If your family’s going to kill it over a single dinner and you like the 2-liter taste, go for it.
10. Circle deals usually don’t help Target catch up.
When you hold up a store-by-store comparison of Target vs Walmart, Target comes out cheaper almost every time.
But they just don’t pull their weight when it comes to soda, especially as 24-can packs are harder to find at Target when they carry them at all. Even our normal Target savings hacks don’t make a big enough of a difference to make them competitive.
For example, right now Target has a Circle deal for 20% off canned Pepsi products. That would make the total price drop from $7.19 for 12 cans down to $5.75 for 12 cans.
That puts you at $0.48 per can, which still isn’t low enough to beat the $0.44 you’d find at Albertsons, Sam’s Club, or Costco.
Don’t worry – I didn’t forget your 5% RedCard discount. It’s just that it doesn’t make enough of a difference in this instance. Five percent off $5.75 brings the price down to $5.46, which would be about $0.46 per can.
Still not cutting it.
11. Pepsi is, in fact, cheaper than Coke.
Overall, it appears that Pepsi has done an alright job of keeping their pledge to not hike prices further, making them the cheaper option over Coca-Cola.
You’ll save $0.06 per can by opting for Pepsi over Coke. And you’ll save $0.20 on each 2-liter.
12. Sam’s Cola is even cheaper.
For those who truly aren’t brand loyal when it comes to their cola flavor, you can get even more bang for your buck by opting for Sam’s Cola – the store brand at Walmart.
While no one’s pretending it tastes exactly the same as either Coke or Pepsi, it’s decent. And if you can’t tell the difference between the two brand names you’re probably not going to notice a huge difference when you go generic.