The Odwalla juice brand is getting shut down by Coca-Cola

Does the discontinuation of the beverage line have something to do with the COVID-19 pandemic?

Coca-Cola is discontinuing the juice and smoothie brand Odwalla at the end July.

The company announced on Wednesday that it would shut down the production of all Odwalla drinks and would sell its fleet of 230 refrigerated trucks that delivered the beverage at the end of the month. The discontinuation of the brand would result in a total of 300 job cuts at the company.

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola told The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the news, that the company “couldn’t figure out the cost-effectiveness” of continuing to sell the beverage, adding that the decision to discontinue the brand is not directly related to the coronavirus pandemic but is “the result of consumers changing what they want so rapidly.”

John Hackett, president of Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid business unit, echoed this sentiment in a statement to CNN, saying that the company made the call to end the Odwalla brand “given a rapidly shifting marketplace” particularly within the beverage category. Hackett added that the decision “was not made lightly” and came “at a time when it is more important than ever to evaluate where we can improve efficiencies in our business and operations.”

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey mentioned a similar approach during an April conference call discussing the company’s first quarter financial results. “We’re focused on maximizing system efficiency by ruthlessly prioritizing to deliver on core [products] and key brands,” Quincey said of how the global health crisis has changed the overall operations of the company.

“The less complexity there is in [the supply chain], the greater the chance for success,” Quincey added during a separate call with the media in the same month, noting that focusing in on the company’s largest brands such as Coke, Coke Zero, Simply, and Minute Maid benefitted the consumers during the early days of the pandemic.

Founded in 1980, Odwalla Inc. was acquired by Coca-Cola for $181 million in 2001 and became a wholly owned subsidiary.

Source: Business Insider

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