BOCA RATON, FLA. — Innovation, lifting and shifting of ideas, and bolt-on mergers and acquisitions are helping fuel the growth engine at the Coca-Cola Co., James Robert B. Quincey, president and chief executive officer, said during a Feb. 20 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton.
Mr. Quincey said Atlanta-based Coca-Cola launched more than 500 stock-keeping units in 2017, and the company doesn’t plan to slow down its innovation efforts.
In January, the company unveiled a full restaging of the Diet Coke brand in North America, including new sleek cans, an updated design and four new flavors. Diet Coke Ginger Lime, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, Diet Coke Twisted Mango and Diet Coke Zesty Blood Orange, along with the original Diet Coke, rolled out to retail shelves beginning in mid-January.
“I think it’s a very exciting set of innovation,” Mr. Quincey said during the CAGNY presentation. “Maybe it won’t fix the problem overnight. That would be relatively unusual. But I think it will certainly help to start getting renewed consumer engagement with the brand.”
He said the company also is stepping up its innovation efforts with the flagship Coke brand, through new flavors and ingredients. Meanwhile, brands like Honest are moving into new categories.
In terms of lifting and shifting of ideas, Coca-Cola continues to look for ways to take ideas from one part of the world and try them in another. Mr. Quincey said the company is now more willing to move products around the globe.
“The ideas and the brands are coming from multiple parts of the world and starting to travel around,” he said. “And I think the strength of the company over time will be the ability to source ideas from any part of the world and have them travel.”
Finally, mergers and acquisitions will play a vital role in fueling growth, Mr. Quincey said. Using the acquisition of Jugos del Valle as an example, he said Coca-Cola has been able to combine juice and dairy businesses to create entirely new beverage platforms.
“Through the process of some of these bolt-on M.&A.s, we were able to create a platform from which then to springboard into other adjacent categories and grow to a clear leadership position in juice and beyond in Latin America,” he said.