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There Could Be a Possible Coca-Cola Shortage, CEO Reveals

The CEO of the soda giant explained the challenges the company is facing in a recent earnings call.

If you've shopped for groceries this week, you might agree that the only thing there hasn't been a shortage of lately is shortages themselves. For anyone trying to stay ahead of the game by stocking up on healthy products like pumpkin and cooking oil, industry insiders just revealed that there may also be a potential shortage of not-so-healthy picks, like soda.

On a quarterly call to report out sales this week, Coca-Cola's chief executive officer predicted the possibility of a Coke shortage, while also hinting at "missed opportunities" and "stalling consumer sentiment" related to Coke products.

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On Wednesday morning, Coca-Cola chairman and CEO James Quincey, along with chief financial officer John Murphy, shared a quarterly revenue update with investors and representatives present from major international banks. According to a transcript via Seeking Alpha, Quincey said that overall, Coke "saw continued momentum" from mid-summer through September, noting that this followed "a strong start to the year."

However, Quincey said challenges the company continues to face are the fact that their international markets are all at various stages of reopening. He mentioned "issues in shipping and freight and availability of labor" as factors that have affected Coke's supply chain specifically in the U.S., as well as a bottling plant in Brazil that "went offline because it burst into flames."

Fortunately for Coke fans, it may not be necessary to rush straight out and grab every case of product you can find. Quincey said that in the U.S., all remains well in general: "We maintained strong momentum in North America despite the COVID resurgence in many states [that led to] to stalling consumer sentiment and supply chain challenges that resulted in both missed opportunities and incremental costs," he said. He also provided assurance that the company is "working with the bottlers" and making sure the company has "enough buffered availability of ingredients and concentrate." Adding: "We manage that accordingly with [bottlers] in every year and particularly this one."

Speaking to current trends in the face of pandemic patterns, the executive noted that Coke sales are strong in the "at-home channel," while sales at restaurants and other away-from-home venues rose last quarter in comparison to earlier phases of the pandemic.

To stay in front of consumers amid the constantly shifting climate, Coca-Cola also recently launched a significant, digital-first rebranding initiative to stay connected with a younger consumer demographic. Read more about that in Coca-Cola Is Launching This for the First Time in Half a Decade.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy