PepsiCo beats Coca-Cola in market value

By Chris Mercer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Soft drinks, Coca-cola, Pepsico

PepsiCo's successful diversity and faster action on health has
taken it ahead of Coca-Cola in the market for the first time in 112
years, but don't be fooled into thinking Coca-Cola is dead wood.

PepsiCo's sharper eye for consumer health trends and its move out of soft drinks to target these put it ahead of its arch-rival in market value. It is now Coca-Cola that must do the chasing.

The switch had been anticipated. PepsiCo has spent the last few years moving out of sugary, fizzy soft drinks and into snacks, including healthy ranges, through the Quaker and Frito-Lay brands.

Only a fifth of Pepsi's sales now come from soft drinks, and the group's sales growth was twice that of Coca-Cola in 2004. Pepsi's shares hit record highs this year and have been trading consistently above its rival's.

Yet, what hurts for Coke is that PepsiCo has also won on core, soft drinks turf - more quickly satisfying consumer demand for healthier drinks like juice and water.

The Tropicana juice range and Gatorade sports drink managed to establish themselves first, the former now so big it is not always immediately connected to PepsiCo in consumers' minds.

PepsiCo is still ahead of Coke on market share for non-carbonated drinks.

Coca-Cola, however, is not a foe to take lightly and new chief executive Neville Isdell looks to have regained some momentum.

The group caught on to healthy drinks trends later, but has had the bit between its teeth for the last year, and has started to turn the tide with successful extensions to its Minute Maid juice and Powerade sports drink.

Isdell announced a new advertising slogan at a rallying conference last week: "Welcome to the Coke side of life."​ He said the group would spend an extra $400m (€336m) on marketing over the next two years.

New products are also waiting in the wings, including Powerade with less calories, more flavour extensions and moves into coffee. The group has clearance to launch a cholesterol-lowering juice containing plant sterols in the UK as well.

The news went down well with analysts, and Coca-Cola's recent third quarter results beat their expectations.

"We are looking forward. Several innovations have taken place, and more will be taking place in the next few months,"​ said Steve Leroy, Coca-Cola Europe spokesperson, to www.BeverageDaily.com​ after the firm announced it would launch its somewhat controversial coffee cola drink, Blak, in France this January.

Related topics: Carlsberg, PepsiCo

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