Coke is canceling 200 drink brands

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The beverage giant had already announced that it will discontinue some beloved, if outdated, drinks, like Tab, Zico and Odwalla. Thursday was the first time the company said it would get rid of 200 of them.
Reducing the portfolio will allow Coca-Cola to focus on its most profitable offerings, the company explained. Those include its core products like Coca-Cola Zero Sugar as well as brands that fit into trendy new categories, like Topo Chico hard seltzer and AHA, a caffeinated seltzer the company launched last year.

CEO James Quincey said during an analyst call that the company has finalized which brands will remain in the portfolio. He didn’t give specific names that will get axed, but said that the “hydration” category, with Dasani, Powerade, Vitamin Water and Zico, and other brands, will likely see more cuts.

Water and sports drink volumes fell 11% in the third quarter.

Many of the brands Coke will shut down are only sold in certain markets instead of nationwide, he said.

There’s a stark difference between Coca-Cola’s successful brands and its struggling ones, Quincey said over the summer. He explained that the underperforming beverages have “little to no scale,” and that their sales represent only 2% of total revenue.

Culling the brands is one of a number of strategies the company laid out this summer to help it grow. Coke says the move will free up resources to invest in higher-growth drinks.

Coca-Cola (KO) has had a hard time during the pandemic because of restaurant closures. In the third quarter, net revenues declined 9% to $8.7 billion.

Its results still beat Wall Street’s expectations, and the stock was up about 2% before the market opened Thursday.

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