Coca-Cola’s shift in packaging has consumers wanting one more sip.
The recent focus on smaller cans and bottles is not only generating more business—it’s leading Coca-Cola back to its roots.
“When we were growing up, Coca-Cola was eight ounces and we’d drink it and go for that extra sip and wish there were more,” says Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America. “That’s a good experience.”
So far this year, the number of mini can tractions in North America has grown 6.6 percent from last year, building on similar growth trends reported since 2013.
“The consumer wanting smaller, proprietary packages is an undeniable trend,” Douglas says.
While 12-oz. cans along with 2-liter and 20-oz. bottles still represent a large volume of the bottles and cans of Coca-Cola sold in North America, those package sizes are declining as consumers downsize to smaller options.
Mini can sales are also growing as consumers opt to reduce their sugar intake. In the U.S., sales of Coca-Cola mini cans have increased at double-digit rates since they were first introduced in 2007.
While Coca-Cola was built on the idea of a “perfect” 6.5-oz. pour, the push to upsize began in 1955 when the company introduced its first king-sized bottle after only selling Coca-Cola in 6.5-oz bottles for more than 50 years. Then, in subsequent years, Coca-Cola’s internal financial model of selling beverage concentrate to bottlers incentivized the company and bottlers to focus on volume growth.
Today, however, the Coca-Cola system in North America is turning this model on its head as it realigns its business to what makes Coca-Cola unique and special to consumers.
The result of this shift is that even as sales of larger-sized legacy packages decrease, like the 20-oz. bottle, the number of overall points of sale between a consumer and a seller of Coca-Cola in the U.S. is growing.
“The past focus of both our company and the industry was how many gallons were sold,” Douglas says. “That’s not a good approach for anticipating and meeting consumer needs in a world exploding with choices. While this trend is just getting started, it is real and we believe the potential is great.”
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