Friday, March 05, 2010

Coca-Cola sees (profit) health in India, China while Americans remain confused

I always say you have to follow the business news to understand what's really going on with corporations; it's the one place they tell the truth. In this revealing interview with Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent, Bloomberg explains how the soft drink giant, "has relied on overseas markets to offset at least four years of declining soft-drink volume sales in the U.S." Sound familiar? It should, as it's the exact same strategy as the tobacco and alcohol industries: once sales in the U.S. are saturated, the only place to go is overseas, and the developing world is the last available opportunity for growth.

The article describes Coke's CEO as saying that "emerging-market economies such as China and India are beginning to bounce back quickly, while more developed regions will take longer to recover." Even more chillingly, Kent is directed quoted: "The emerging world is in a healthier situation as we are exiting the tunnel." Of course, he means the tunnel of the recession, but never mind how the health of the "emerging world" is being increasingly threatened thanks to the invasion of U.S.-style fast food, soda, and other non-native foodstuffs, as this 2007 article on childhood obesity in China explains.

As for the lagging economy in the U.S. and other western nations, Coke's chief says that “the consumer is still confused." Yes, we are so confused that we've cut back on drinking sugar water full of chemicals, how very inconvenient for Corporate America. But there's always other nations to exploit.

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