Coke Continues Bottling Overhaul

The Coca-Cola Company recently announced plans to sell territories to two U.S. bottlers, the latest step in an overhaul of its bottling operations.

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The Coca-Cola Company recently announced plans to sell territories to two U.S. bottlers, the latest step in an overhaul of its bottling operations.

The world's largest beverage company agreed to terms with Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated and Clark Beverage Group for an undisclosed sum.

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated will take over bottling in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Clark Beverage Group will assume the Mississippi market.

“As we’ve shared before, we continue to align our U.S. operations with highly capable partners of all sizes that have consistently invested for growth,” said Sandy Douglas, Coke's North American chief.

Coke began altering its bottling operations last year after purchasing its largest bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises, for $12 billion in 2010. The company's 21st century beverage partnership model agreed to terms for expanded territories for five bottlers.

The operational changes coincide with continued efforts to boost its sodas amid growing consumer concerns about excess sugar and artificial sweeteners.

The company launched an expanded "Share a Coke" campaign for this summer in hopes of mirroring sales boosts from 2014. The company also overhauled its marketing and packaging in the U.S. and Europe and launched healthier product options, including Coca-Cola Life soda and Fairlife premium milk.

Meanwhile, Coke CEO Muhtar Kent last month suggested an in-home soda maker from Keurig could outpace the company's flagship coffeemaker and bring soft drinks into more homes.

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