Coca-Cola is dedicated to providing more choice for consumers – from new beverage products and lower-sugar options to smaller portion sizes and broader access to the Coca-Cola portfolio. Delivering variety is far from a new concept for the company. In fact, it’s been a part of the company’s marketing and packaging DNA for decades—
take Germany, for example, where consumers have been personalizing their Coca-Cola purchases for years.

In Deutschland, Variety Rules

Since the 1970’s, German Coca-Cola consumers have enjoyed “Mix-and-Match” shopping, taking their Coca-Cola branded crate to their neighborhood grocery store and filling them with twelve glass soda bottles. Rather than committing to a dozen of only one flavor, as seen in other markets, German consumers have had the ability to fill their crates with any Coca-Cola beverage of their choice. In Germany, this shopping experience still holds true today, but with added convenience. Rather than consumers lugging around heavy glass bottles, the company has shifted to refillable plastic bottles.

Adding Marketing to the Mix

With the Mix-and-Match offering, German consumers can try new Coca-Cola beverages and create an assortment that appeals to the different tastes in their household. And when they bring the crate, filled with empty bottles, back to the retail outlet many consumers continue to buy a new one with the products of their choice. The result? Increased brand loyalty and a personalized shopping experience critical to customer retention in a world where customization is king.

Around the globe, the Company is focusing its efforts on providing more choice to consumers looking for low and no calorie alternatives. It’s no different in Germany where, according to Nielsen Home Market Sell Out Data, since 2014, the country has experienced a near 7 percent increase in purchases of 1-liter crate bottles of light soft drink beverages.

Taking note of the traction light soft drink beverages have had in the Mix-and-Match program, Coca-Cola Germany has subsequently armed its distributors with marketing materials to bring low and no calorie options front and center.

One tactic includes providing digital downloads that highlight low and no calorie promotions for a grocery store’s weekly flyer.

Arno Mölleken, a packaging expert at Coca-Cola Germany, explained “One of the most popular deals allows consumers to get two free drinks when they purchase a full 12-pack crate, and we make sure that retailers have the option of advertising with visuals that show low and no calorie sparking beverages.” By using marketing that prominently displays options other than Coca-Cola’s signature product, they are emphasizing the choice that’s available to the consumer. Mölleken shared that 80 percent of the company’s 1-liter refillable PET volume in the country is sold in complete crates.

Crates with a Purpose

As these crates have been in the market for more than 40 years, Germany has truly optimized their beverage buying process. Its unique innovation in this field allows for consumers to get the most out of every Coca-Cola product purchase. Whether it’s filled with Fanta Zero, Coca-Cola Light or another Coca-Cola classic – the choice is up to the consumer.