Coca-Cola has been forced to transform its profile from that of the world’s biggest soda drink maker to one that is now making soft drinks with much less sugar and even adding a range of beverages that would be considered healthy. Coca-Cola’s compulsion arises from what every marketer, howsoever large and powerful, fears – consumer rejection of its products, especially it’s the signature product.
The largest ever beverage brand has been witnessing steady and growing rejection of its sugary soda by an ever more health-conscious market which now favors healthier alternatives that offer some tangible benefit. This stark reality was acknowledged by none other than Coca-Cola’s new chief designate, James Quincey, who hasn’t wasted time in altering the megabrand’s business strategy that balances a new marketing message with newer and healthier products to suit consumer preferences.
Coca-Cola’s soda sales in the US dropped for the 11th consecutive year in 2015, and fell to a 30-year low which alarmed the incoming head of the beverage major. He now believes that the future of his company rests on its ability to quickly transform itself into a “total beverage company.” Earlier this year, he introduced “Coke’s Way Forward,” plan which includes expanding offerings like organic tea, coconut water, dairy, coffee, juices and water, globally. Coca-Cola owns brands like Dasani, Smartwater, Minute Maid, Honest Tea and Fairlife milk among many others in different parts of the world. This portfolio non-soda healthier drink is expected to increase in time and this is how Quincey sees the future.
Even though Coca-Cola’s “traditional sparkling” soda makes up 70 percent of the company’s value, the new market trend with consumers bypassing soda drinks for healthier alternatives is fast pushing that percentage downhill. This segment of the business is growing at a meager 2-3% while other newer segments like water, juice and tea are growing much faster. Katie Bayne, SVP of global sparkling brands at Coca-Cola, said, “We’re organizing the company to be the leader in every one of those categories.” The beverage major is now reducing sugar in more than 500 of its drinks, and it’s investing serious money to carry this message across to its audiences across the world.