Commodity prices leave Coke flat

Coca-Cola had to pay $300m (£180m) more for commodities, such as the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used to make plastic bottles, in the first quarter, crimping profits to the extent that they missed Wall Street forecasts. Disruption in Japan and unexpectedly high marketing costs also hit the figures.

The drinks giant's $1.9bn profit was 18 per cent higher than in the first three months of 2010, thanks to the acquisition of its North American bottler, but Muhtar Kent, chief executive, admitted soaring commodities prices had "pressured" the company.

Mr Kent pointed to an 11 per cent rise in sales of still drinks, such as Minute Maid juices and Vitamin Water, as evidence that the group continues to innovate and grow.

"This year on 8 May we celebrate the 125th anniversary of one of the world's greatest consumer product innovations: Coca-Cola," he added.