Company investing in R.&D. to reduce sugar across its portfolio.


PARIS — The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, is adjusting its approach to selling carbonated soft drinks in response to evolving consumer trends, said James Quincey, president and chief operating officer.

“We have made a shift in how we deal with the challenges and the headwinds around added sugar or total sugar consumption around the world,” Mr. Quincey said during a June 16 presentation at the Deutsche Bank dbAccess Global Consumer Conference taking place in Paris. “We realize that we need to go from offering choice to shaping choice. We need to use the ability of our system, our marketing, our designs, our reformulations to provide a portfolio of products that encourage and enable consumers to enjoy added sugared responsibly.”

In addition to offering portion-control cans of its classic Coke products, the company has increased its investment in research and development to reduce the aggregate sugar content across its portfolio, while promoting its existing low- and no-calorie options.

“All of which will need to meet the absolute entry price of being great tasting,” Mr. Quincey said. “There’s no point of developing products with whatever level of sugar if consumers don’t like them because they are certainly not going to drink them. But we clearly see a vector here where more shaping of choice to help move the industry and innovation will provide a platform for sparkling growth.”

Another priority for Coca-Cola is to “promote clear facts” by providing transparent nutrition information, portion recommendations and consumer education.

“There is a need for us to support and help lead on the promotion of facts,” Mr. Quincey said. “That takes different shapes in different countries given all the regulatory environments. But our North Star is to promote clear facts.”

Coca-Cola also has prioritized marketing its products responsibly and leading engagement with consumers, while helping to improve the well-being of the communities in which it operates.

The company’s new approach “integrates with our strategy choice of being less dependent on being volume-led and being more focused on being value-led,” Mr. Quincey said. “The two things can go together because as I shift from trying to sell the extra 2-liter bottle with an oversized discount to selling more beautiful small glass bottles, that is good from a revenue point of view, yet it’s also good from a shaping choice point of view.”