Its Industry, Its competitors
The Coca-Cola company, which is also known as the number one nonalcoholic beverage company, plays an important role in the industries of soft drink, water and ice, coffee and tea manufacturing. In the industry of soft drink manufacturing, the Coca-Cola company is responsible for providing a wide variety of sparkling beverages and following proper nutrition labelling guidelines on all its products. In the industry of water and ice manufacturing, the Coca-Cola company emphasizes the importance of providing safe consumable water products that are approved by the USDA. The company also practices safe packaging and labelling procedures so that consumers can trust that their product is safe from contaminants.
According to Hoovers, the Coca-Cola company’s competitors include PEPSICO INC., Nestlé, and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. The company’s biggest competitor is PEPSICO INC., which is the world’s second largest beverage company. Like the Coca-Cola company, PEPSICO INC. is also in the industry of soft drink, water and ice, coffee and tea manufacturing. Some of PEPSICO’s soft drinks include Pepsi, Mountain Dew, while it also sells healthier drink options such as Tropicana Orange Juice, SoBe Tea, and Aquafina Water. Both company’s have a similar product portfolio, which is why it is important for both companies to introduce new assets and leverage resources for its competitive advantage.
Assets Leveraged for Competitive Advantage
On June 3, 2015, the Coca-Cola Company showcased, PlantBottle, the world’s first plastic bottle made partially from plant parts at World Expo Milan. This breakthrough innovation serves as an asset the Coca-Cola company is leveraging for a competitive advantage because it has the potential to change the entire beverage packaging industry. On its website, the Coca-Cola Company explains how PlantBottle works by saying, “PlantBottle packaging uses patented technology that converts natural sugars found in plants into the ingredients for making PET plastic bottles. The packaging looks, functions and recycles like traditional PET but has a lighter footprint on the plant and its scarce resources” (The Coca-Cola Company, June 3, 2015). PlantBottle earned the title of “breakthrough innovation” because not only was it fully recyclable, but it also offered the same high quality packaging that traditional PET plastic bottles did. Reducing the use of petroleum and other fossil fuels to only 70% per PlantBottle has helped the Coca-Cola company save over 315,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Technology and How It’s Utilized
The introduction of Coca-Cola Freestyle back in 2009 by the Coca-Cola company proved how technology could turn a simple invention into a huge success. The Coca-Cola Freestyle is a modernized version of a traditional soda fountain. With a touch of a screen, consumers are able to create over 100 different soda combinations. Consumers can choose the option of having non-caffeinated soft-drinks, diet and low-calorie soft drinks, or mix and match several different beverages to create the perfect concoction that they enjoy drinking the most. This technology allows for personalization because it gives each consumer the freedom to create their unique beverage. Additionally, the Coca-Cola Freestyle also provides better communication to its suppliers since there is a computer inside the soda fountain that that sets off an alert when a certain ingredient within the machine is running low. This real time data allows for suppliers to replenish the ingredients the soda fountain needs in a timely manner, so that consumers are not faced with an “out-of-order” fountain.
One of the Coca-Cola’s biggest strengths is its ability to so quickly internationally. The Coca-Cola company is currently present in over 200 countries, therefore making it the largest beverage company in the world. The Coca-Cola company has many different drinks such as Sprite, Fanta, Dasani Water, Minute Maid, Power Aid, Vitamin Water and many more, and because of this Coca Cola is able to target everyone as it’s target market. One of the reasons the Coca-Cola company has been able to stay ahead of its competitors is its ability to quickly gain national and international acceptance. Consumers regardless of age can enjoy Coca-Cola products because there is such a wide variety of beverage options. The Coca- Cola Company is trying to reach people’s hearts by doing simple things such as adding names to the cans of soda, to personalize the Coca-Cola drinking experience.
The Coca-Cola Company’s biggest weakness is the fact that it only focuses on drinks, it does not have edible products such as potato chips, cookies, etc. Pepsi has entered this market by merging with Frito-Lay and has been able to be successful. If coca cola were to start focusing on other edible products, it may be able to shake off Pepsi as a top competitor overall. Another weakness that Coca Cola has is the lack of healthy drinks. With so many people trying to change to better and healthier drinks, Coca Cola runs the risk of losing some of its health-conscious consumers. The Coca-Cola company is also the biggest manufacturer of carbonated beverages, and with such a changing and diverse consumer base, it may be time to consider other healthier drink options.
The Coca-Cola company is known best for its carbonated soft-drinks, such as the world famous Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Fanta. This lack of diversification in its product portfolio allows multiple opportunities for the Coca-Cola company to venture outside of the non-alcoholic beverage industry. The first opportunity is for the Coca-Cola company to acquire a snack brand. Since there is a strong correlation between snacks and beverages, it would allow for the Coca-Cola company to diversify its inventory, without diluting its brand and mission statement. This idea is similar to what the Coca-Cola Company’s number one competitor, PEPSICO, did back in 1965, when it merged with Frito-Lay Inc. Now, PEPSICO’s inventory not only includes carbonated beverages, but it also offers a wide variety of cheese flavored snacks, pretzels, tortilla chips, and potato chips. Aside from the snack industry, another opportunity includes the Coca-Cola company introducing alcoholic beverages. Unlike the soft-drinks that are tailored to everyone regardless of their age or where they live, the Coca-Cola company can tailor a drink that specifically targets consumers of legal drinking age. This idea is similar to what Starbucks did back in 2010, when it introduced the “Evenings” concept. In this concept, Starbucks announced that it would begin selling beer, wine, and small plate foods such as truffle mac and cheese. This was an attempt to create a happy hour that was appropriate to Starbuck’s mission of providing a place where people could meet up and relax over some light refreshments and snacks.
Trends/Disruptive Technologies to Watch
When looking at nutrition trends from the past five years in the United States, there is a rising number of consumers who are choosing healthier eating and drinking options. According to a press release archive from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) called “American Adults are Choosing Healthier Foods, Consuming Healthier Diets”, it provides scientific backings from a study for this new trend of healthier eating. In this press release archive, it states, “Calories consumed through food away from home dropped by 127 calories per day, and the average person ate three fewer meals and 1.5 fewer snacks away from now” (American Adults, Jan.16, 2014). Consumers who are choosing healthier eating options are also choosing healthier beverages. People are moving away from carbonated drinks, and choosing healthier alternatives that contain less sugar such as water and teas. Continuing this new health trend, the Coca-Cola Company acquired AdeS on June 1st, 2016. AdeS the leading plant-based beverage in Latin America. This new expansion not only allows the Coca-Cola Company to provide healthier beverage options besides water and tea varieties, but also have a greater international presence than it already does. This was a smart acquisition on behalf of the Coca-Cola company because they are aware that in order to remain the world’s largest beverage company, they have to be able to tailor themselves to the needs and wants of their health-cautious consumers.
Overall, the Coca-Cola Company has done an exceptional job at providing quality soft-drink beverages that everyone can enjoy. Their mission to spread happiness through a bottle is one of the reasons that make the Coca-Cola company widely accepted. Although it is the world’s largest beverage company, the Coca-Cola company still has opportunities to expand into the industries of alcohol and snack manufacturing. With groundbreaking innovations such as the PlantBottle and Coca-Cola Freestyle, it is exciting to see what awaits for the Coca-Cola Company in the future.
...(download the rest of the essay above)