Coca-Cola Prospers Despite Setbacks

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The amazing thing about Coca-Cola is, the fun never stops. The segment of the press concerned with health never has a chance to pause and catch its breath. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been imploring governments to levy taxes on sugary drinks.

Many groups have gone public about wanting to see less sugar in these products. At the same time, MeriNews.com reported on how…

[…] the whole idea of reducing the amount of sugar in soft drinks, which was being perceived as a threat to the beverage industry, has turned out to be a profitable business for Coca-Cola Co.

In a new marketing strategy, Coca-Cola Co has started offering its sugary drinks in smaller bottles and cans… It means that the company charges more for lesser product, translating into higher margins and profits.

The same source also pointed out that Coke, Pepsi and their ilk had stepped up the aggressiveness of their marketing campaigns, especially in developing and poverty-stricken countries like India, Kuwait, Ghana, and Peru. Obesity is classified by WHO as a noncommunicable disease, but it looks as if even that definition will need revision in the near future, as revelations are made about psychological epidemiology, the microbiome, and other previously ignored factors.

In some ways, multinational corporations resemble dinosaurs, whose very size impedes their ability to dodge some types of threats. But Coke has found a haven of congenial adaptation to requests for decreased sugar, by the simple expedient of selling drinks with the same proportionate amount of it, but in smaller units. The genius of it cannot be denied.

In all fairness, the company says it is in the process of reformulating some 200 of its potions to cut down the sugar content, which introduces another set of problems. The still, or non-fizzy, beverages are gaining in popularity, but juice, coffee and tea still face the same need for sweetening. Last year, the corporation’s North American sales went up 3.3% to reach $2.66 billion.

This year has barely started, but it looks like Coke will do even better financially. A disturbing report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that on any given day, around two out of three American children consume at least one sugar-sweetened beverage, be it soda, sports drink, or fruit juice.

But that’s the average. Some hardcore kids — about 10% of them — consistently swig three of these things in a single day. Teenagers get almost 10% of their daily calories from sugar-sweetened beverages. One more statistic — currently, the childhood obesity rate in America is about 17%.

Between laws and self-policing, the overall effect on public health remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, the landfills will definitely be receiving more plastic and metal debris, thanks to all that extra packaging. But what does that matter, as long as the Coca-Cola Company continues to rake in billions?

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “How Coca-Cola Co has turned the battle against sugar into a profitable business?,” MeriNews.com, 10/27/16
Source: “Alarming number of kids are slurping down sugary drinks, survey finds,” USAToday.com 01/26/17
Photo credit: Mike Mozart (JeepersMedia) via Visualhunt/CC BY

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
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Presentations

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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