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10 Reasons Why Coca-Cola Still Dominates The Beverage Market


10 Reasons Why Coca-Cola Still Dominates The Beverage Market

Few products reach the iconic status of Coca-Cola. From humble origins more than a century ago, it has become known around the world as part of American culture. Coca-Cola has taken advantage of every opportunity, which sheds light on the 10 Reasons Why Coca-Cola Still Dominates The Beverage Market.

10. The Famous Syrup

The story of Coca-Cola started after the American Civil War. John Pemberton was wounded and developed an addiction to morphine, so he worked to develop a medicinal drink that could replace morphine. After several formulations of varying success, Pemberton hit upon a syrup made from sugar, coca plant extract, and kola nut extract. He brought his sweet syrup to a fellow pharmacist in Atalanta, Georgia, named Willis Venable. Mr. Venable let Pemberton use his pharmacy to test and perfect the recipe for his syrup. It was a happy accident that caused him to mix his sweet syrup with carbonated water. Pemberton believed he had a winning product on his hands and decided to sell his newly named Coca-Cola as a fountain drink instead of as a medicine as he’d originally intended it to be. An advisor to Pemberton named Frank Robinson came up with the name “Coca-Cola.” The Coca-Cola Company maintains that Robinson chose the name simply because he liked the way it sounded and not because of the drink’s two key ingredients. Whatever the truth is about the name, the product hit the market with some success. Unfortunately, Pemberton fell ill shortly after these events. With his health failing, he sold the rights to Coca-Cola in 1888. Pemberton’s hard work and determination are greatly to thank for the giant success the beverage company continues to have to this day. 


Soda sales peaked about 20 years ago, but the sports beverage called BODYARMOR is one of the reasons why Coca-Cola still dominates the beverage market. This is a beverage similar to products like Gatorade, which promises superior hydration and replenishment of the electrolytes you need to stay in the game. The BODYARMOR brand boasts that it uses all-natural flavors and sweeteners, and coconut water. The sports drink’s attention to quality results in a unique line of products that can compete in the crowded sports beverage market. It is available in a wide range of flavors that includes Gold Berry, Orange Mango, Pineapple Coconut, and Berry Lemonade. BODYARMOR has attracted a number of celebrities and sports stars to its health and fitness-minded brands, such as singing sensation Carrie Underwood and World Series Champion Mookie Betts. The sports beverage line of drinks remains BODYARMOR’S signature product, but it hasn’t stood pat. Instead, it began branching out with a line of SportWater. This purified water is full of electrolytes and promises all-day hydration for your workouts and activities. As soda sales have declined, sports beverages and water have become a much bigger percentage of Coca-Cola’s sales, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. 

8. Can Of Steel

It is a little difficult to believe that there was actually a time before soda was available in the common 12 oz. aluminum cans we’re all familiar with. The Coca-Cola Company first got the idea of putting its soft drink in a can back in the 1930s. However, the cans, originally made from steel, remained prototypes and were never put into production. The traditional glass bottles were a little delicate to be shipped overseas, and Coca-Cola intended to expand into foreign markets. The glass bottles became an issue again in the 1950s when Coca-Cola wanted to make its soft drink more available to the American troops stationed overseas. The company decided cans were the answer, so it went to work on a steel can. The executives at Coca-Cola were concerned that Coke’s flavor would be harmed by the metal cans, but it seemed to work out in the end. Initially, the cans of Coke were to be sold only overseas, but then the company realized its can was a valuable innovation. In 1960, the can was approved for domestic sale, and the soda can was born. The steel can was durable but expensive, so by 1967, Coca-Cola started the switch to aluminum cans. The company experimented with a couple of different sizes, including 10 oz. and 16 oz. cans, but the 12 oz. can has remained the standard. It’s easy to overlook, but the innovation of the metal soda can is one of the reasons why Coca-Cola still dominates the beverage market.

7. Marketing

The Coca-Cola Company has long realized that marketing efforts are an important part of competing in the highly competitive soft drink business. Coca-Cola controls 44% of the carbonated soft drink market, so it must be doing something right. It hasn’t rested on its laurels though, as it continues to push the usual television advertisements, merchandise, and billboards. In 1971, Coca-Cola came out with one of the more famous and successful marketing campaigns when it released a commercial that featured the song “Buy the World a Coke.” The commercial and the song were immediate hits for Coca-Cola, and different versions of it were played over the years. The jingle was even turned into a successful pop song called “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.” More recently, the soft drink company used a lovable family of animated Polar Bears. This campaign highlights Coca-Cola as a refreshing drink to be enjoyed by the whole family. The labeling on the cans and bottles has undergone a number of changes over the years, but the iconic red and white color scheme has remained pretty consistent. These colors are very much associated with the soft drink brand, and it’s hard to imagine that would ever change. There have been variations, however, with Diet Coke having a silver can and Coke Zero having a black can. All in all, attention to marketing is one of the reasons why Coca-Cola is still one of the big players. 

6. Beyond Plastic

Soft drink companies, including Coca-Cola, use a lot of aluminum cans and glass bottles in order to sell their products. Plastic has been increasingly used instead of these other materials, but Coca-Cola is trying to move beyond standard plastic bottles. An environmental advocacy group released a report about the dangerous effects of throwing away so many plastic bottles into trash could have. The report named Coca-Cola as the top plastic polluter and went on to say that in one study, “13,834 branded Coca-Cola plastics were recorded in 51 countries.” The Coca-Cola Company seems to have gotten the message that the huge amount of plastic bottles it produces has been causing a problem. As a start, the soft drink manufacturer committed to using bottles made from at least 50% recycled materials by the year 2030. Apparently, Coca-Cola has no immediate plans to ditch plastic bottles entirely because it believes its customers prefer them to other packaging. However, the company recently developed plastic bottles that are made from plant matter. At first, the bottles could only be made with about 30% plant matter. But, the technology has improved a lot over time, and Coca-Cola’s plastic bottles can now be made from 100% plant matter instead of traditional plastic. The soft drink company’s ability to use technology to innovate has helped it stay on top of its game. 

5. Coca-Seltzer

It seems like everyone is getting into the hard seltzer business these days, and Coca-Cola is no exception. The soft drink giant had already been selling mineral water under its popular Topo Chico brand, but in 2020, Coca-Cola decided it was the right time to drop some of the products that were not selling well. However, on the positive side, it also agreed that the Topo Chico brand was the right brand to use to expand into alcoholic drinks like hard seltzer. Coca-Cola bought several wine businesses in 1978, but this initial foray into alcoholic beverages didn’t work as well as the company had hoped. All of the wine businesses were sold off by the end of 1982. Coca-Cola moved their attention to Brazil and Mexico, releasing the seltzers in 2020 while thirsty consumers in the United States had to wait until 2021 to sample them. The beverage company saw its expansion into hard seltzers as an experiment, but one worth pursuing because millennials have been driving an expansion in the seltzer market over the last few years. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer is available in a growing selection of refreshing flavors that includes Strawberry Guava, Tangy Lemon Lime, Exotic Pineapple, and Tropical Mango. Any of these seem like a good choice for a lazy afternoon by the pool. The willingness to expand into the alcoholic beverage market is one reason why Coca-Cola still dominates the beverage market.

4. Branding

For many people, Coca-Cola is almost synonymous with the carbonated beverage we all know as cola. How did this particular soft drink become so embedded in our culture? Coca-Cola and Pepsi have given up on the head-to-head taste tests because cola is cola. The success of the Coca-Cola Company’s brand isn’t really built just on the merits of the products themselves. Tastes are subjective, so the soft drink company decided to brand loyalty by making customers feel good about buying and drinking Coke. Coke is all-American, it’s what families drink at ball games and barbecues and is the perfect drink at the movie theater. The company isn’t trying to convince people to drink Coke based on reason or objective arguments. Coca-Cola has had success hooking its customers on a deeper, more emotional level. Coca-Cola wants people to associate its products with feelings of nostalgia, good times, and family gatherings. These are feelings that a blind taste test with a competitor can never reveal. According to Coca-Cola, more than 19,000 of its products are enjoyed around the world every second of every day. This kind of global success can’t be attributed only to the products themselves. A lot of energy and money has been used to craft an image of Coca-Cola that makes people want to choose their products and feel good about doing it.

3. Market Infiltration

The Coca-Cola Company opened its first international bottler in Panama in 1906, meaning the company has more than a century of experience on how to gain a foothold in beverage markets around the world. In the late 1920s, Coca-Cola formed a subsidiary company that later became known as the Coca-Cola Export Corporation. One of this corporation’s first successes was to form a partnership with the Olympic Games. The 1928 Summer Olympic Games took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands and the company paid to ferry the American team across the Atlantic Ocean in a chartered ship along with 1,000 cases of Coke. This is an early example of the company’s successful efforts to expand its profile and its sales into growing markets. The Coca-Cola Company has developed partnerships with as many as 250 bottlers around the world to get its drinks to as many customers as possible. These long-term relationships with local businesses have helped give the soft drink global reach without having to go to the expense of building its own bottling plants wherever it wants to sell its products. Coca-Cola has focused on selling its proprietary syrups and concentrates to the bottlers. The bottlers are left to make the drinks and package them for sale in their local areas. This market strategy has proved to be cost-effective and very successful. 

2. Coffee

Internationally successful coffee companies like Starbucks have shown Coca-Cola that people will pay good money to get their morning caffeine fix at a coffee shop. So, it only makes sense for a beverage company selling billions of dollars worth of caffeinated soft drinks to get into the coffee business. Costa Coffee has been around for 50 years and is one of the United Kingdom’s most popular brands of coffee. Sergio and Bruno Costa started their coffee company in 1971 after they moved from Italy to London. They eventually turned their dream into a successful chain of coffee shops. The success of Costa Coffee caught the attention of the Coca-Cola Company, and in 2018, the soft drink maker bought the coffee shop chain from the parent company Whitbread for $5.1 billion. This was considered a bargain at the time, and with this purchase, the Coca-Cola Company acquired 4,000 stores in 32 countries around the world. Until the company made this purchase, Coca-Cola didn’t have a product competing in the hot beverage market, which is one of the areas of the beverage market continuing to show healthy growth. It seems like the soft drink company is willing to take a chance on any beverage with the potential to make money.

1. Gone Global

Companies exist to sell their products to the public and make a lot of money, and well, some of them are more successful than others. The Coca-Cola Company’s measure of success is that it sells almost 2 billion drinks a day under several hundred different brands around the world. Unlike many companies that saw hard times during the pandemic, this global soft drink company enjoyed a welcome 5% increase in revenues. Even though people couldn’t go to restaurants and other venues like ball games and concerts, they still had to shop for their families while they were stuck at home. Apparently, many people still chose to buy their favorite Coca-Cola products to help quench their thirst and help pass the time. One of the keys to the soft drink company’s success has been its ability to adapt so it could continue to prosper. It dropped the Coca Plant from its recipe, developed a metal can, formulated diet sodas, and expanded into sports drinks and even hard seltzer. Advertising and marketing efforts have made the Coke name and logo a familiar part of pop culture. Most customers will always identify the Coca-Cola Company with its signature cola, but it clearly has successfully expanded its business to cater to peoples’ changing tastes. This willingness to change with the times so it can continue to expand has to be one of the reasons Coca-Cola still dominates the beverage market.

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