James Quincey, the CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, speaks during an interview with CNBC on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, December 9, 2019.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Coca-Cola will raise prices on its drinks to combat the impact of higher commodity costs.
The beverage giant joins a number of other consumer giants, like Kimberly-Clark and J.M. Smucker, in hiking prices. While the move will help their profit margins, it may come at the expense of cash-strapped consumers who are still struggling from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We intend to manage those intelligently, thinking through the way we use package sizes and really optimize the price points for consumers,” he added.
Throughout the crisis, Coke shifted its production to focus on larger bulk packaging to appeal to consumers who were spending more time at home and stocking up at the grocery store. But before the pandemic, Coke and its rival PepsiCo had been pushing smaller size cans and bottles, which usually carry a higher price per ounce for the consumer and are more profitable for the manufacturer. Pepsi executives said on Thursday that they expect smaller packaging to come back as the crisis subsides.
Quincey did not reveal which Coke products would have higher price tags. The company last announced a price increase in 2018, citing the impact of aluminum tariffs under the Trump administration.
Coke shares rose less than 1% in morning trading after the company reported its first-quarter results. Coke’s earnings and revenue topped Wall Street estimates, and the company said that demand in March reached pre-pandemic levels. However, executives emphasized that the company is seeing an uneven global recovery.