The Coca-cola Company hardly needs an introduction. A line taken from the cover of a recent annual report says it all: if you measured time in servings of Coca-Cola, “a billion Coca-cola’s ago was yesterday morning.” On average, everyU.S.citizen dinks 363 8-ounce servings of Coca-cola products each year. Coca-Cola’s primary line of business is the making and selling of syrup to bottlers. These bottlers then sell the finished bottles and cans of Coca-Cola to the consumer. In the annual repot of Coca-Cola, the following information was provided.


Management Discussion

Our gross margin declined to 61 percent this year from 62 percent in the prior yearr, primarily due to costs for materials such as sweeteners and packaging.

The increases [in selling expenses] in the last two years were primarily due to higher marketing expenditures in support of our Company’s volume growth.

We measure our sales volume in two ways: (1) gallon shipment of concentrates and syrups and (2) cases of finished product (bottles and cans of Code sold by bottlers).


Answer the following questions.

a. Are sweeteners and packaging a variable cost or a fixed cost? What is the impact on the contribution margin of an increase in the per unit cost of sweeteners or packaging? What are the implications for profitability?

b. in your opinion, are marketing expenditures a fixed cost, variable cost, or mixed cost

c. Which of the two measures cited for measuring volume represents the activity index as defined in this chapter? Why might Coca-Cola use two different measures?