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Coca-Cola CEO expects to see sporadic product shortages through 2022


James Quincey, the CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, speaks during an interview with CNBC on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, December 9, 2019.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said Wednesday he expects to see sporadic shortages on grocery shelves through 2022.

Like other food and beverage companies, Coke is dealing with snarls in the supply chain and higher commodity costs, which have resulted in some shortages.

“My analogy would be it’s a bit like an earthquake,” Quincey said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “You get further shock waves coming through, but they tend to be of diminishing magnitude.”

He added that while shortages may persist through next year, they will likely decrease in significance over time as the situation improves.

Quincey said the company uses its global scale and long-term partnerships to navigate issues within its supply chain. However, it’s not possible to mitigate all challenges. He presented a second analogy, comparing the supply chain headaches to a game of Whac-a-Mole.

“Some issues are ongoing and structural, and some issues appear for a quarter and disappear again,” he told CNBC’s Sara Eisen.

On a call with analysts, he listed issues like labor shortages, spiking gas costs in Europe and a plastic plant in Brazil that burst into flames.

Shares of Coke were up 2% in morning trading after the company’s earnings and revenue topped Wall Street’s estimates and it raised its forecast for fiscal 2021.

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