Coca-Cola saw the popularity of its namesake fizzy drinks slide in key markets globally during the first quarter, reflecting a mix of changing tastes, challenging economic conditions and a shifting business strategy.
The world's biggest beverage maker said that sales volume for soft drinks like Diet Coke and Cherry Coke that bear its name declined in North America, Europe and the unit including the Middle East and Africa.
Total sales volume rose two per cent, helped by performance of other drinks like Fanta and strength in non-carbonated drinks like bottled water and sports drinks.
For the quarter ended 1 April, Coca-Cola earned $1.48bn (£1bn), meaning the reported EPS (earnings per share) was $0.34, compared to the previous year’s earnings of $1.56bn and an EPS of $0.45. The firm was hit by a strong dollar and refranchising charges.
Chairman and chief executive Muhtar Kent said: “We continue to transform The Coca-Cola Company into a company that is focused on our core value creation model of building strong brands, enhancing customer value and leading our franchise system”.
The transformation plans include a new look for current drinks cans, featuring the iconic red disk, and a rename of the Coke Zero drink. The new name will specifically be branded Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’after research found that 50 per cent of consumers did not know the brand was sugar-free.
The new version is also set to taste more like the original Coca-Cola, as opposed to competing with it’s Diet Coke rival.
Shares fell by four per cent yesterday to $44.76.