Coca-Cola's Main Non-Soda Brands Express News
The Coca-Cola Company (KO) is a popular first stock purchase for many investors, thanks to the familiarity of its namesake cola. Coke is iconic: it’s a part of American history and has been an industry leader for 128 years. But today’s Coca-Cola Company reaches far beyond its signature carbonated beverage. In recent decades, Coca-Cola has turned to acquisitions for growth and diversification, becoming a nonalcoholic beverage conglomerate that now owns, licenses and markets more than 500 beverage brands.
Many of Coca-Cola’s non-soda brands have been driving its growth, and several now exceed $1 billion in annual revenue. Here’s an overview of the top non-soda brands that Coca-Cola will rely on for growth in the future.
Water, Coffee and Tea Brands
According to a recent analysis by Trefis, water products are the largest non-soda revenue stream for Coca-Cola. The company is also seeing significant growth in teas and coffee. It has several products in each of the aforementioned groups that have exceeded a billion dollars in sales, listed below.
|Company||Category||Year Coca-Cola Founded or Acquired||Primary Market|
|Glacéau vitaminwater||Enhanced Water||2007||North America|
|Georgia Coffee||Ready-to-drink coffee||1975||Japan|
|Gold Peak||Tea||2006||North America|
Coca-Cola does a fabulous job of acquiring and building top brands. These products also have more room to grow than the typical, stagnant soda products. Dasani is the highest selling bottled water in the U.S., yet Coke only holds 7.4% overall market share. According to the International Bottled Water Association, bottled water is set to become the No.1 packaged drink by 2016, which bodes well for Dasani, vitaminwater and Coke’s other water brands.
The company’s strength continues in the realm of caffeinated beverages. Georgia Coffee is a long-standing Asian staple and is the No.1 ready-to-drink coffee brand in Japan, while Gold Peak, FUZE TEA and I LOHAS all reached billion dollar status in 2014. Fuze was a particularly fast mover: it was launched in 14 countries to start and reached billion-dollar status only two years later.
Coca-Cola also owns several billion-dollar brands that are healthier than soda, even if they aren’t completely healthy. Sports drink Powerade lags Gatorade in market share but has been gaining traction in recent years. Whether it is competing for a star athlete’s sponsorship or launching calorie-free drinks, Powerade constantly attempts to match Gatorade’s every move. The growth of the sports drink market is so robust that it should still help Powerade for years to come.
In Japan, Coca-Cola’s Aquarius is the No.1 sports drink. Aquarius is a bit of a hybrid:the brand represents sports drinks in some countries and bottled water in others. The combined annual sales for beverages under the brand exceed $1 billion dollars.
Coca-Cola’s Simply brand was launched in 2001 and has helped the company target health conscious consumers, despite claims by some critics that it charges a premium for a less-than-natural product. Nevertheless, the idea that Simply is pure has stuck, and the brand surpassed $1 billion in revenue in 2009.
But perhaps no brand has been as important to Coke as the Minute Maid Corporation. It was the first acquisition made by The Coca-Cola Company when it was purchased in 1960, and it established Coca-Cola as a total beverage company. Coca-Cola’s acquisition strategy and multi-brand strategy wouldn’t exist if not for Minute Maid. At the very least, Minute Maid’s success has paved the way for other billion-dollar juice brands, which, in addition to Simply, include international fast-growers Minute Maid Pulpy and Del Valle.
The Bottom Line
The Coca-Cola Company’s retail sales topped $80 billion in 2014, and the company is consistently ranked as one of the top five global brands. As iconic as Coca-Cola is, soda sales have been mostly flat for the company in recent years, particularly in North America. Non-soda brands are growing quickly, and Coke will need to rely on them for continued growth in the future. Thankfully, there are some strong, household, brands among Coca-Cola’s non-soda segment. Whether consumers buy them as frequently as they purchased Coke for many years is something investors will have to watch.