Coca-Cola to close down 2 US bottling plants as part of asset right strategy

US – Atlanta-based multinational bottling company Coca-Cola has announced plans to close down to bottling facilities in the United States as part of its “asset right” strategy. 

According to Coca-Cola, the strategy is aimed at ensuring it has the proper level of resources as it transforms its beverage portfolio to meet changing consumer and customer needs. 

As a result, operations at a bottling facility in American Canyon, California, that employs 160 people, and another plant in Northampton, Massachusetts, that has 320 workers are expected to close down by 2023. 

The Atlanta-based soda, tea, water, and sports drink maker has been pruning some of its brands even before the pandemic in an effort to reposition itself for the future.  

The process has resulted in the company cutting thousands of jobs as it ceases production or sells several well-known brands to focus on beverages that are growing and have the potential to achieve a large scale.  

The COVID-19 however brought a new urgency as consumer tastes rapidly shifted, prompting the beverage giant to press the accelerator on its restructuring efforts.  

“What it means to be a total beverage company is always going to evolve because people’s tastes and needs will continue to evolve,” James Quincey, Coca-Cola’s CEO, told Food Dive in 2019.  

“Five to 10 years from now, many brands may be different or might not exist. New ones will take their place. This journey doesn’t end.” 

The past year has been a busy one for the beverage giant, which has ended the production of a number of big-named brands.  

It announced it would discontinue production of Tab soda and Odwalla juice as part of a wider plan to eliminate an estimated 200 brands globally.  

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In January, the maker of fanta and sprite soft drinks announced it was selling Zico, the distant No. 2 brand in the coconut water space behind Vita Coco, back to its founder.  

It also recently announced it would end production of Coca-Cola Energy in North America after just over a year on the market. 

Perhaps its biggest move came in December when Coca-Cola announced it was cutting 2,200 jobs globally through buyouts and layoffs.  

This followed two rounds of layoffs in 2015 of at least 1,600 white-collar jobs globally, and in 2017 of 1,200 positions, according to The Wall Street Journal.  

With the closures of the California and Massachusetts plants in two years, the Coca-Cola spokesperson said the company “did not make this decision lightly.”  

He said workers at the affected facilities are encouraged to apply for jobs within the Coca-Cola system and at other third-party manufacturer locations such as Refresco which the beverage giant entered into a bottling deal with earlier this month. 

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