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Case Code: BENV038
Case Length: 9 Pages 
Period: 2009-2018     
Pub Date: 2019
Teaching Note: Available
Organization : The Coca-Cola Company
Industry :Beverages
Countries : US; Canada
Themes: Business Environment/Business Law/Strategic Marketing
Case Studies  
Business Strategy
Human Resource Management
IT and Systems
Leadership & Entrepreneurship

Should Coca-Cola Enter the Cannabis Infused Drink Market?

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On September 17, 2018, Bloomberg reported that Coca-Cola could be looking at venturing into the Cannabis drinks business. According to the reports, the Atlanta-based soft drinks maker was in talks with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis Inc. (Aurora), to consider the possible production of CBD infused beverage, as soda consumption slowed down. Aurora’s officials told CNBC, “Aurora has expressed specific interest in the infused beverage space, and we intend to enter that market. There is so much happening in this area right now and we think it has incredible potential. As a rule, we do not discuss business development initiatives until they are finalized, however we have a responsibility to our shareholders to give proper consideration to all relevant opportunities that are presented.” ...
Business Environment Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, IT and Systems, Case Studies
Business Environment Case Studies Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, IT and Systems, Case Studies
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According to Beverage Digest , US soda sales had dropped 12 years in a row from 2004 to 2016 as consumers had begun searching for healthier products. This was also the reason why the global health and wellness food market was expected to jump 14% from US$707 billion in sales in 2016 to US$811 billion by 2021 . Analysts believed that even diet drinks, which were once considered healthy, had started receiving a lot of flak amid rising concerns about the dangers of artificial sweeteners. In 2016, the total volume for carbonated soft drinks dropped 0.8% following a steeper drop of 1.2% and 0.9% in 2015 and 2014 respectively...


Analysts were of the opinion that Coca-Cola’s move was just the latest sign that the big players were starting to feel more comfortable investing in cannabis. It was because for most of the life of this nascent industry, large corporations had sat on the sidelines wary of cannabis’ murky legal status. According to analysts, this disconnect meant that banks basically could not work with cannabis companies unless they were willing to file millions of reports assuring them of the authenticity of their activities. Because of this, public companies too had stayed away from this industry...


Coca-Cola, which once advertised itself as “The Great National Temperance Beverage” (1906) and “Pure as Sunlight” (1927), was diversifying in response to the changing tastes and preferences of the new generation. Analysts believed that with more and more people complaining of chronic pain around the globe, CBD’s use would only increase in the future. Coca-Cola’s arch rival Pepsi (PEP) too hadn’t completely ruled out a move into cannabis...


Exhibit I: Selected Financial Data of Coca-Cola: 2015-2017
Exhibit II: The Coca-Cola Company-Product Segments and their Contribution to the Company Portfolio
Exhibit III: Revenue Breakdown of Coca-Cola by Region (As of 2018)
Exhibit IV: Countries that have Legalized Medical Marijuana
Exhibit V: Growth of Select Soda and Non-Soda Brands (As of 2016)
Exhibit VI: List of Beverage Companies Which Had Ventured Into Marijuana Market