Coca-Cola continued its transformation as a total beverage company in 2018, delivering strong, geographically balanced revenue growth and value share gains in a challenging currency and cost environment.

“There is a consistent thread in what’s driving better results across our territories,” CEO James Quincey said Thursday during a call with analysts and investors. “We’ve strengthened our brands, including Coca-Cola, through strategic innovation and more disciplined ritual building. And our bottling partners have increased investments and improved execution. And together, we’re aligned as a system on how to capture the growth opportunities before us.”

Global Growth

Globally, sparkling soft drink volume was up 2% in 2018, fueled by double-digit volume growth growth of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and supported by innovations such as Coca-Cola Plus Coffee. Diet Coke mounted a successful comeback in North America, where new packaging, new marketing and new flavors drove 3% retail value growth for the brand following multiple years of declines.

Trademark Sprite grew global volume 2% through premium innovations such as Sprite Fiber+ in China.

The company also took steps in 2018 to introduce brands like Fuze Tea, smartwater and AdeS in more markets, along with expanding its portfolio. The company announced plans to acquire the global operations of Costa coffee and an investment in the premium sports hydration brand BODYARMOR in the United States.

The company also removed more than 700 underperforming “zombie” products to help clear the way for stronger options.

Looking Ahead

In 2019, the company expects 4% organic revenue growth and double-digit comparable currency neutral operating income growth. As a global company, Coca-Cola is also impacted by changes in foreign exchange rates, and currency was a major factor in revised guidance for EPS. Coca-Cola expects comparable EPS growth to range from 1% to -1% in 2019.

Despite ongoing macroeconomic volatility, Quincey is confident in the road ahead.

“Our business is built to perform, even if the tailwinds behind us moderate somewhat,” he concluded. “Ultimately, we’ll focus on what we control… taking steps to manage the business as we become a total beverage company.”