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The soft drinks landscape in North America has undergone a seismic shift of late, following The Coca-Cola Co's completion of its deal to acquire the operations of Coca-Cola Enterprises in the region.
Within the last year, both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have ended their arms-length operating policies and brought their bottlers in-house. The long-held notion that a separate bottling business could foster a more efficient overall business has become obsolete in the face of new challenges on the market.
Both PepsiCo and Coca-Cola saw North American drinks volume sales slip in 2009, while the choice of drinks on offer has broadened considerably. It is no longer a straight fight between Coke and Pepsi-Cola; consumers now demand a wide range of soft drinks, from energy and functional drinks to teas, juice and water. PepsiCo's CEO, Indra Nooyi, said last year that an integrated business, combining bottling with sales and marketing, was the fastest and most cost-effective way to meet this demand and react to changing consumers tastes.
Coca-Cola has today concurred.
Staying in the US, the alcoholic drinks industry had its collective gaze firmly fixed on Washington as the two-day hearing of the Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness (CARE) Act took place last week. With drinks producers strongly opposed to the proposed bill, and wholesalers and responsible drinking pressure groups lining up behind the legislation, it's a complicated situation. Hopefully, our coverage will help dissipate the mists.
Finally, just to remind you, we're at the TFWA exhibition in Cannes in two weeks' time. Those of you who operate in the Travel Retail sector will probably be there too. If you'd like to show off your wares to us, drop me a line at email@example.com.
Until next time...