Will Coca-Cola Bring an End to the Soda Industry?

Will Coca-Cola Bring an End to the Soda Industry?
iStock/BlakeDavidTaylor

In a recent CNN interview, Coca-Cola’s new CEO, James Quincey, said the company is looking ahead, and its future doesn’t exactly resemble the company’s bubbly past.

“What’s got us to 130 years of success is not going to take us on the next 130 years,” Quincey saidHe’s speaking specifically to the steady decline in soda sales in recent years — even diet soda, including Diet Coke — have seen significant drops in sales as the entire soda category has been linked to the rising rates of obesity, diabetes, and other health issues.

The company recently announced a rebrand of Diet Coke, aiming to appeal to the Millennial market with skinnier cans and fruit-inspired flavors, but Quincey seems sold on “new” beverage categories leading the way for the soft drink giant.

“As the world develops, as economies grow, as the world organizes, people still want to enjoy beverages. Actually each year, they spend more on beverages, but they want choice,” he said, adding that the company needs to become “more innovative” in order to grow, even if that means missteps, like many are calling the Diet Coke rebrand.

The company recently acquired Topo Chico carbonated water brand in an effort to compete with La Croix and build on its water brands (Dasani and Glaceau/Vitamin Water). And the company is listening to customer requests for smaller packaging on sugar-filled drinks to help reduce caloric intake.

“We’ve got to try things,” Quincey said, pointing to taking cues from the tech industry. “Not all of them will work. We don’t need to get too upset when we have failures. We need to learn, move on, and reinvent.” 

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.