The world's largest soda manufacturer, Coca-Cola Corporation, has announced plans to cut 750 jobs in North America in 2013.
The Atlanta area will see the largest portion of the cuts – approximately 180 people will be laid off, a quarter of the total downsizing. The cuts will represent about a 1 percent reduction in Coca Cola's North American workforce.
"These changes are the next step in evolving our organization so that we're focused on our highest-value opportunities to grow the business and make it easier for our people to get work done," said Scott Williamson, a company spokesman, in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Shares in the company were up 10 percent between March 2012 and March 2013, though sales of carbonated beverages were flat in the North America and decreased in recession-weakened European markets. Overall drink sales were up between 2012 and 2013, on the strength of the company's energy drink Powerade.
Coke also struggled with allegations in 2012 and 2013 that mass consumption of sugary, calorie-laden carbonated beverages are a contributing factor to the nation's obesity epidemic.
Coca-Cola officials maintain the cuts are an attempt to streamline business operations and are not a response to any particular business challenge, reported the Atlanta Journal Constitution.