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Consumers 'Reset' by Recession: Coca-Cola CEO

The global slowdown has caused a radical change in the way people buy and use products, but fast-moving consumer goods like Coca-Cola are less impacted by the change, Muhtar Kent, CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, told CNBC Thursday.

Coca-Cola bottles
AP
Coca-Cola bottles

"There has been a reset of consumers, in the West particularly. In North America, Japan, Western Europe: reset," Kent said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The change in consumer habits has impacted the durable goods sector most, while food and fast-moving consumer goods have been less affected, he said. Consumption has shifted more to the house as opposed to on-the-go consumption, he added.

"When you are like us, selling moments of pleasure at cents at a time to almost 1.6 billion consumers per day, you feel that there're tremendous opportunities even in this environment," Kent said.

Kent reaffirmed the company's goal of doubling revenue by 2020, but admitted that recovery from the global recession is likely to be patchy and in some places lackluster.

"It's going to be a slow recovery in many parts of the world and other parts of the world are really growing at double digits … like China and some parts of South East Asia, Vietnam, India," he said.

"We see tremendous amounts of opportunity in the next coming decade as a billion new consumers come into the middle class in the world," he added.

- Watch the full interview with Muhtar Kent above.

Africa is a key priority for Coca-Cola, but China is still a "big bet," Kent said.

"We feel that (Africa is) a wonderful continent of opportunity; 800 million very young people, dynamic people, dynamic consumers. The population is growing, the economy is growing, better governance coming in," he said.

Kent added that China has exceeded everyone's expectations in terms of growth and he sees China’s gross domestic product growing by an annual 8-9 percent over coming years. While much of Coca-Cola's growth is expected to come from emerging markets, Kent is also expecting growth in developed markets such as the US.

"It won't happen with just emerging markets. We're going to be growing everywhere around the world," he said.

Coca-Cola is continuing to invest in the US and Kent sees such investment as a key driver for opportunities and jobs. He said that a proposed "soda tax" would hamper such job creation.

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