Coca-Cola's (KO) James Quincey has his work cut out for him as he officially takes over as CEO on Monday.
Among his many tasks, one is to get the soda giant back to performing in line -- or better than -- rival PepsiCo (PEP) . As it stands, the performance gap is pretty wide.
Coke reported tepid first-quarter results, as its earnings of 43 cents a share slightly missed Wall Street's expectations and its revenue declined 11% to $9.1 billion.
To add insult to injury, PepsiCo's earnings of 94 cents a share beat analyst's estimations for earnings of 92 cents a share, and its revenue rose 2% from the year ago quarter to $12.04 billion.
Shares of Coke have fallen 4% over the past year, while PepsiCo has gained 9.5%.
A prime reason PepsiCo performed so well in the first quarter was its strong portfolio of snack brands. Frito Lay North America saw its sales climb 4% as people continue to move toward snacking as opposed to eating outright meals.
Not only does PepsiCo have the food to add to its long list of beverage options, but it's driving the product innovation that makes its food brands strong. In an interview with TheStreet, PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston discussed the importance of its "guilt free" snacks -- salty and sweet treats that have lower calorie counts -- including Baked Lays potato chips, its Quaker breakfast options and a new line of lighter chips called Poppables.
"Frito has established itself as an insurmountable brand," said Michael Musso, managing director of Conway MacKenzie's Consumer Packaged Goods practice. He also spent 13 years at PepsiCo, four of which specifically at Frito Lay.
Musso said even if Coke gears itself up with a few snack brands, it will be difficult for the company to compete with PepsiCo's Frito Lay business, which dominates some 80% of the overall snack food industry.
"Coke needs diversification or it needs to be acquired," Musso said, who thinks the logical buyer would be beer king Anheuser Busch Inbev (BUD) . "If anyone has the resources to compete with [PepsiCo], it's Anheuser Busch."