The Coca-Cola Co.’s new PlantBottle is innovative because it’s made from a blend of petroleum-based materials and up to 30% plant-based materials. This means the bottle is recyclable and it reduces carbon emissions by up to 25%, compared with petroleum-based polyethylene terephthalate bottles.
“The PlantBottle is a significant development in sustainable packaging innovation,” said Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement.
The bottle, which is made through a process that turns sugar cane and molasses into a component for PET plastic, is one of the latest examples of how Kent champions sustainability efforts. Other initiatives range from establishing local rainwater harvesting facilities in India to this year’s opening of what’s been described as the world’s largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant. Located in Spartanburg, S.C., it will produce approximately 100 million pounds of recycled PET plastic for reuse each year.
Along with efforts to help the planet, Kent is driving advances in other ways. Under his leadership, the company has increased the availability of Coca-Cola Zero, its most successful product launch since Diet Coke in 1982. Coca-Cola Zero is sold in 107 markets, and has aided the Coca-Cola brand, which experienced incremental growth of more than 200 million unit cases over the last year.
Another way that Kent is innovating is by working to find new ways to sweeten Coca-Cola beverages with fewer calories.
This year, it introduced three brands: Sprite Green, two flavors of Odwalla Mojito Mambo all-natural juice drinks and four varieties of Glacéau Vitaminwater10, sweetened with Truvia. Developed jointly by Cargill and the Coca-Cola Co., Truvia is a zero-calorie sweetener that uses rebiana, which comes from the stevia plant leaf.
“Truvia has the potential to revolutionize the beverage industry,” Kent told SN. Coca-Cola will continue to evaluate Truvia for use in other new, naturally sweetened, reduced-, low- and zero-calorie beverages.
The company is also investing in Minute Maid, Odwalla and other brands due to growing demand for juices and juice drinks.
“There is no question that consumers today expect more choice and value in the beverages they choose as their lifestyles and life stages evolve in a world that is becoming more urban and mobile,” Kent said.
Coca-Cola is also addressing consumer concerns about the economy with marketing efforts focusing on affordability, while leveraging insights to deliver the right products for the right retail account. “Working with our bottling partners, we will continue to innovate in order to produce differentiated beverages and packages tailored to the needs of particular customers and consumers,” said Kent.
— Carol Angrisani