Coca-Cola has been having a tough few years of revenue and profit declines. Its best year was ten years ago; since then, its revenue and EBITDA have been either declining or in slow-growth mode. Whereas it’s hard to point at just one factor, a massive one is a decline in soft drink consumption, especially in rich countries.
The company, however, has always found some comfort in its 100-year old, Latin American operation. Margins have been better than all other regions since at least 1990, and they’ve gotten even better since then — from 37 to 62% in 2021. Also, Latin Americans love coke: Mexico and Brazil are both in the global top 3 of per capita soda consumption.
Americans and Canadians also love Mexican Coke. It’s made with cane sugar instead of the high-fructose corn syrup used in the US since the 1980s. Unlike the US version, its bottle is glass (which is manufactured by Mexico’s FEMSA: Coca-Cola’s biggest bottling partner in the world). Although the US division has imported Mexican Coke for a while, the drink’s market was initially Mexican immigrants. This changed in 2009 when it hit the shelves of mainstream stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and Kroger.
Last year marked 100 years since Coca-Cola’s entered Latin America through Mexico. Coca-Cola can now be found in literally all other countries in the world except for two: our very own Cuba and North Korea.