News & Events

Tuesday 07 April, 2015


Inspiring sustainable soft drinks choices

We spoke to Leendert den Hollander, Vice President and General Manager, Coca-Cola Enterprises GB about the importance of offering choice in soft drinks 

You may have read recently that we are changing the way we market Coca-Cola – unifying our four variants through a new ‘one brand’ strategy. We would like to extend the appeal of the brand across our other Coca-Cola variants and make the choice we offer much clearer to consumers. As a result, we expect that Great Britain will become the first country in the world where our lower and no-calorie products will account for more than 50% of our cola sales. 

This new approach is one of the important elements of our ambition to leverage our portfolio of 19 brands and 96 different products to ‘inspire sustainable soft-drinks choices’. To inspire, we need to bring new consumer ideas through product, packaging and commercial innovation. On choices, it’s about offering the right range and communicating it in a way that helps shoppers make the most appropriate decisions for themselves and their families. And we know that health is a key element of sustainable choices. 

In a report entitled ‘Choice and Information’ we identify the ways in which we plan to do this – as well as highlight the significant actions we have taken in recent years to inspire consumers through our innovation and marketing. These actions include our investments to reduce the sugar content of popular brands like Sprite and Dr Pepper or launch entirely new products such as Glaceau Smartwater. 

We were among the first companies to sign up to the Government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal and in 2012 we committed to reduce the average calories per litre in our range of sparkling drinks by 5%. I am pleased to say that our report shows how we have met this commitment through a combination of product reformulation, introducing a wider choice of packs sizes and stronger marketing support for our lower and no-calorie drinks. 

In fact, more than 39% of the drinks we sell in Great Britain today are lower or no calorie products. 

So we are now committing to go further. In our new report we pledge to work across our portfolio to make a further 5% reduction in our average ‘calorie footprint’ over the next 10 years. This will require significant ongoing investment in research and product development to ensure we continue to offer the right products to meet the changing needs of our shoppers. 

We haven’t forgotten the importance of energy balance either: some of you will be aware of the work Coca-Cola has been doing to encourage people to embrace healthy, active lifestyles as part of a £20m commitment to get one million Britons active by 2020. 

Both manufacturers and retailers have done much to respond positively to societal concerns about complex issues such as obesity. Clearly, there is more to be done. While soft drinks contribute only 2% of calories in the average adult diet, we want to play a positive role in the debate on health. I believe we can, and will, continue to make further progress thanks to the collaboration that exists across the industry. 

Leendert den Hollander

Vice President and General Manager

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