As Coca-Cola expands its portfolio of beverages to align with people’s tastes and preferences, the company is incorporating a “lift and shift” approach as it introduces new products and innovations across markets around the world. More simply, when a product experiences success in one part of the world, Coca-Cola will “lift” that product and “shift” it to another market. Sometimes, it’s the exact same recipe. Other times, it’s the same product customized to meet that market’s needs.
The lift and shift approach supports the company’s new growth strategy, which promotes expanding its consumer-centric product portfolio, quickly scaling wins from market to market and embracing an experimental, test-and-learn approach.
“We operate in 200 countries. Having a success in one country frankly almost doesn’t move the needle. The needle only really moves when it’s a big success in more than one of the big countries,” said James Quincey, President and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. “Our ability to lift and shift the best ideas and the most successful ideas around the world is absolutely critical to our ability to create more billion dollar brands and a more diverse portfolio.”
Some Coca-Cola brands have already done the lift and shift. In 2017, leading U.S. brands Honest Tea® and glaceau smartwater® launched in multiple international markets. Also in 2017, Coca-Cola finalized acquisition of the AdeS® plant-based beverage business, expanding its portfolio in Latin America, with plans to shift the product into Europe in early 2018.
One of the best examples of a winning lift and shift is Coca-Cola Zero Sugar™, which in 2017 continued to grow double digits in Europe, Middle East & Africa and Latin America, where there is broadest availability of the new recipe. Building on Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’s success in more than 25 markets, the product was introduced into the United States in August 2017, where the no-sugar offering grew 8 percent in the fourth quarter.
Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, which was originally launched in the United Kingdom in 2016 and since has been fine-tuned for markets, is an answer to people’s evolving preferences for great-tasting drinks that help them moderate sugar consumption. The product gives consumers what they want how they want it and has helped Coca-Cola in its quest to deliver value over volume.
Coca-Cola plans to continue executing the lift and shift concept as it further grows as a total beverage company. Lift and shift may end up being lauded as one of the company’s greatest steps toward accelerated growth.