Coca-Cola Continues to Innovate

During an earnings call on Tuesday, Coca-Cola announced that it is launching a coke and coffee hybrid beverage this year in addition to releasing an energy drink.

After reporting earnings that made investors giddy that day, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey attributed the company’s 6% growth in retail value to its product innovations. “Our sparkling portfolio benefited from the continued strong performance in Coke Zero Sugar and new flavor innovations like Orange Vanilla Coke,” said Quincey, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

To keep consumers interested, Quincey shared that the company is going to launch coffee coke and expand it to more than 25 countries by the end of this year. The drink was tested in Asian markets last year including Thailand. It contains less caffeine than pure coffee, but more caffeine than the average serving of coke. This year, Coca-Cola acquired Costa Coffee, a European coffee chain, though a spokesperson says the two are unrelated.

An earlier version of the drink called Coca-Cola BlāK was launched in France in 2006 and made its way to the US, Canada, and Eastern Europe. In 2008, however, it was discontinued.

Quincey also discussed testing a new product, Coke Energy, which “is designed to the white spaces where the energy category isn’t well-developed,” said the transcript.

Coke’s ever-changing flavors might look like an overextension of its brand, or a way to keep a desperate company afloat. In this case, however, and as has always been the case for Coke, the core of the brand has always been its classic cola. The other flavors, extensions, or innovations, are a way for the brand to keep itself interesting, to maintain focus, and keep the discussion going.