Coca-Cola may still be the the preferred soft drink of choice in the United States—over Pepsi-cola, that is—but what the public wants and what the publicly traded stock market says are two completely different things.
Indeed, Wall Street numbers indicate that Pepsi has much higher sales than its closest competitors, and it has nothing to do with soda.
Pepsi shares are up 1.5 percent, today—10 percent on the year—on the news that the company simply outperforms Coca-cola when it comes to overall market share. Coke shares dropped 2 percent.
Coke, of course, banks on its popularity to continue improving revenue, but Pepsi has expanded its product base in an attempt to broaden its appeal with Millennial and Generation X consumers. In fact, they are even trying to stir up some nostalgia by reintroducing Crystal Pepsi.
But, both Coke and Pepsi’s core products—cola—are high-calorie, high-sugar, caramel-colored beverages that this generation is opting for less and less. Of course, Coke does own the Minute Maid juice company and the Dasani water company, as well as Powerade and it has shares in Monster Beverage (energy drinks). Pepsi, on the other hand, competes with Tropicana, Aquafina, and Gatorade. But this is where the two companies diverge.
Pepsi, for example, also has a thriving snack unit. This is a growth area that is highly mobile in today’s market, and an area in which Coke continues to struggle. As such, Pepsi Chief Executive Indra Nooyi comments that while the global economy, overall, remains “troubled,” the company is still “cautiously optimistic” about further development in emerging markets.
Pepsi is also the parent company of Frito-Lay; yes, the potato chip and snack food company that distributes products like Doritos, Cracker Jack, Cheetos, Lay’s potato chips. This division accounts for slightly more than 20 percent of the company’s total sales, though the division actually makes up more than 40 percent of the company’s operating profits. This is somewhat ironic, of course, as consumers are moving away from sodas and more towards waters and energy drinks, they still appear to prefer salty, crunchy snacks.
In addition, though, expansion into organics has been good for Pepsi, too. Revenue in the organic’s market increased by 8% in both developing and emerging markets. This includes an 11 percent growth in Mexico and China; in Russia revenue grew by 7 percent on the restoration of the consumer economy.