1. Why Is the Soft Drink Industry so Profitable?

3377 words 14 pages
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1. Why is the soft drink industry so profitable?
An industry analysis through Porter’s Five Forces reveals that market forces are favorable for profitability.
Defining the industry: Both concentrate producers (CP) and bottlers are profitable. These two parts of the industry are extremely interdependent, sharing costs in procurement, production, marketing and distribution.
Many of their functions overlap; for instance, CPs do some bottling, and bottlers conduct many promotional activities. The industry is already vertically integrated to some extent. They also deal with similar suppliers and buyers. Entry into the industry would involve developing operations in either or both disciplines.
Beverage substitutes would threaten both
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Coke and Pepsi found these channels important, however, as an avenue to build brand recognition and loyalty, so they invested in the fountain equipment and cups that were used to serve their products at these outlets. As a result, while Coke and Pepsi gained only 5% margins, fast food chains made
75% gross margin on fountain drinks.
Vending, meanwhile, was the most profitable channel for the soft drink industry. Essentially there were no buyers to bargain with at these locations, where Coke and Pepsi bottlers could sell directly to consumers through machines owned by bottlers. Property owners were paid a sales commission on Coke and
Pepsi products sold through machines on their property, so their incentives were properly aligned with those of the soft drink makers, and prices remained high. The customer in this case was the consumer, who was generally limited on thirst quenching alternatives.
The final channel to consider is convenience stores and gas stations. If Mobil or Seven-Eleven were to negotiate on behalf of its stations, it would be able to exert significant buyer power in transactions with
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Coke and Pepsi. Apparently, though, this was not the nature of the relationship between soft drink producers and this channel, where bottlers’ profits were relatively

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