Business Briefs: Diet Coke gets new look, flavors

Business Briefs: Diet Coke gets new look, flavors

January 11th, 2018 by Staff and Wire Reports in Business Around the Region

This photo provided by The Coca-Cola Co. shows examples of Diet Coke's rebranding effort. The Coca-Cola Co. says it is adding a slimmer 12-ounce Diet Coke can, refreshing the logo and offering the 35-year-old drink in four new flavors, including mango and ginger lime. The company said Diet Coke's new look and flavors were aimed to appeal to millennials. (Courtesy of The Coca-Cola Co. via AP)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Diet Coke gets new look, flavors

Diet Coke is getting a makeover to try to invigorate the sugar-free soda's slumping sales.

Coca-Cola Co. said Wednesday it's adding a slimmer 12-ounce Diet Coke can, updating the logo and offering the 35-year-old drink in four new flavors, including mango and ginger lime. The taste of the plain Diet Coke will stay the same, the Atlanta-based company said.

Diet Coke sales have fallen as more people switch to other low-calorie drinks, such as flavored fizzy water. In fact, Coca-Cola said the new slim 12-ounce cans are the same ones used for its Dasani sparkling water. Diet Coke will still come in standard 12-ounce cans, as well as other sizes, such as bottles and mini cans.

"We're maintaining the essence of Diet Coke while modernizing the brand to invite a new generation of drinkers to try it," the company said in a post on its website.

Coca-Cola said the new flavors and look — with a different color vertical stripe for each flavor and red for plain — are aimed at appealing to millennials. It spent two years on the makeover, and tested more than 30 flavors before settling on the four, which also include cherry and blood orange.

The changes will show up in U.S. stores by the end of the month and in Canada in February. There's no current plan to launch the makeover in other countries, but the company said other parts of the world are exploring ideas.


Thompson joins TVA board Friday

James R. Thompson III, chief executive and president of corporate billing at National Commerce Corp. in Decatur, Ala., is joining the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority this week.

Thompson is one of four new directors appointed by President Trump to the nine-member TVA board that oversees America's biggest government utility, which provides electricity to 9 million persons in seven Southeastern states. Thompson will be sworn into office by a federal judge in Huntsville on Friday.

On Tuesday, Georgia business executive A.D. Frazier, of Mineral Bluff, Ga., was sworn in to office as a TVA director during a ceremony in Chattanooga. Joining Frazier and Thompson as new board members are Jeff W. Smith of Knoxville and Kenneth Allen of White Plains, Ky., who have yet to announce their plans to be sworn into office.

The terms of Thompson and Allen end in May 2021. The terms of Frazier and Smith expire in May 2022.

The new board members will join the four existing board members for the next TVA board meeting next month in Chattanooga. Trump has yet to fill the other remaining vacancy of the TV board.


Berkshire board adds 2 successors

Berkshire Hathaway is promoting the two top candidates to eventually replace CEO Warren Buffett to its board, but the 87-year-old investor says he isn't leaving.

Buffett and Berkshire's 94-year-old Vice Chairman Charlie Munger will retain their positions on the board, which is expanding to 14 members from 12. But Greg Abel and Ajit Jain will also become vice chairmen and take on more duties.

Buffett said on CNBC Wednesday the new board members are "part of a movement toward succession over time."

Buffett said the move isn't due to any looming concerns, saying he's in "remarkably good health." Yet Buffett says Abel and Jain are the right choices as potential successors.

"They've both got Berkshire in their blood," Buffett said.

This move makes the succession plan clear for investors, said Andy Kilpatrick, who has followed Berkshire for years while writing and updating "Of Permanent Value: The Story of Warren Buffett."

"Now if something happens, they're right there," Kilpatrick said.

Berkshire Hathaway owns Shaw Industries in Dalton, Ga., and Clayton Homes in Knoxville and is a franchiser for one of the biggest real estate agencies in Chattanooga, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.


Fed gives profits to U.S. Treasury

The Federal Reserve's economic stimulus campaign continued to generate large profits in 2017, helping to reduce the federal deficit, but the windfall is showing signs of tapering.

The Fed, which remits its profits to the Treasury Department, disclosed Wednesday that its payments last year totaled $80.2 billion — about 12 percent less than the $91.5 billion in 2016.

The decline in profits reflects the Fed's efforts, as the economy gains strength, to conclude the economic stimulus campaign it waged in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Fed has gradually increased its benchmark interest rate amid an improving economic picture and those higher rates increase what the Fed must pay on deposits that banks keep stashed at the Fed.

The Fed also began last year to gradually reduce the portfolio of Treasurys and mortgage bonds it acquired after the 2008 crisis, reducing the amount of revenue the Fed gets from interest payments on those securities. Those holdings are the source of most of the Fed's revenues.

The Fed's contribution to the government's coffers still remains well above precrisis levels.

The Fed made an average annual contribution to the Treasury Department of $23 billion during the five years preceding the crisis. Since 2010, the average contribution has been $86 billion.