- Rick Wilking/Reuters
At Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting on Saturday, the question of Warren Buffett’s Coke consumption came up again.
Coca-Cola is one of Berkshire’s “big four” investments, and Buffett has been a fervent ambassador of the company’s flagship soda over the years.
But he has been criticized for investing in Coca-Cola because of the health risks that excessive soda consumption pose.
During the Q&A session, CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin forwarded a shareholder question on why Berkshire investors should be proud to own a stake in Coca-Cola. He prefaced it with a number of stats about the dangers of soda.
“I have not seen evidence that convinces me that I’ll make it, that it will be more likely that I reach 100 if I suddenly switch to water and broccoli,” Buffett said.
He is 85.
He said in terms of daily calorie consumption, he didn’t see anything off about having 2,700 or 2,800 out of 3,500 calories come from Coke.
Buffett said he found from Census Bureau figures that roughly 10,000 men in the US that lived to be 100 years old or greater, compared to roughly 45,000 women.
“So if you really want to improve your longevity prospects – I mean, a guy in my position – you have a sex change.”
As Myles Udland pointed out, it seems Buffett is tired of answering this question at this point.
“I really wish I’d had a twin, and that twin had eaten broccoli his entire life, and we both consumed the same number of calories,” Buffett said. “I know I would have been happier, and I think the odds are fairly good that I would’ve lived longer. I think Coca-Cola is a marvelous product.”
Buffett has even gotten heat from Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman, who said Coca-Cola damages society just as Munger accused Valeant Pharmaceuticals – which Ackman owns shares of – of being immoral. Some people even speculated that Ackman planted the question.
Berkshire vice chairman Charlie Munger also chipped in. He was drinking diet Coke from a wine glass during the Q&A.
Munger also seemed a little frustrated with the question, and said people who ask it all the time don’t mention the upside.
“It’s immature and stupid.”