I’d like to buy the world a Coke … but it’s gotten too expensive. In a bold move, Coca-Cola executives say they intend to keep raising their prices—even while inflation-shocked consumers are looking for places to save some bucks. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finds the average cost of a 12-ounce can of soda, in a 12-pack, has increased by 45 percent in less than four years. So how can Coke get away with it? In short, because despite the higher prices, customers keep buying the company’s fizzy drinks. In July, after Coca-Cola posted higher than expected second quarter earnings, its chief financial officer noted, “We continue to see resilience and a lot of demand not just in the U.S. but across the world.” Then he offered some theories for why this resilience persists—including pent-up demand for going out to theme parks and movie theaters, where a Coke is part of the experience. Another hypothesis is that there just is not a satisfactory lower-cost alternative. Whatever the reasons, it seems lots of people are going to keep having a Coke and a smile, at any cost, and perhaps just cut back elsewhere.

Source: Elizabeth Crawford, “Coca-Cola Co. Considers Additional Price Increases Ahead of Potential Recession,” foodnavigator-usa.com, April 26, 2022; Jeff Gelski, “Coca-Cola to Keep Passing through Costs,” Food Business News, July 27, 2022; Kelsey Davis, “Will There Be an End to the Soda Price Increase? Not Likely. Here’s Why,” The Repository, September 9, 2022; Connor Hart, “Coca-Cola Posts Higher Quarterly Sales Despite Price Increases,” The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2022