News & Events

Monday 21 March, 2016

Coca-Cola Enterprises and Cranfield University launch vision for sustainable food and drink manufacturing


  • Second white paper forms final part of  year-long research project with prestigious university
  • CCE and Cranfield University uncover five pathways to achieve a more sustainable manufacturing industry by 2050
  • CCE launches £56m investment plan for GB operations in 2016 in support of  its journey towards sustainability

 Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has today released the final findings from its industry research partnership with Cranfield University; entitled Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future.

The second white paper shares a sustainability vision and roadmap. It offers a picture of what the ‘factory of the future’ may look like in Great Britain by 2050, presenting the challenges and opportunities to be addressed in order to achieve rapid and fundamental change. Taking into account the findings of the research, CCE has launched a £56m operational investment plan, accelerating its journey towards sustainability in GB, and increasing total investment to £356m over the last six years.    

CCE’s partnership with Cranfield University began in March 2015, with a roundtable event, attended by leading academics and industry experts. This resulted in a first white paper identifying six key themes that the industry would need to address in the coming years – People, Big Data, Technology, Collaboration, Value and Resilience. These themes set the agenda for the partnership’s next phase of research.

Published today, the research has uncovered five pathways and a number of key actions that will lead the food and drink industry towards its vision of sustainable manufacturing. These pathways are: Anticipating the future, Providing nutrition, Sharing the benefits, Inspiring the next generation and Joining forces.


The five pathways

1. Anticipating the future:

In the future, manufacturers’ use of big data and the Internet of Things will increasingly help to assure quality and address resource productivity - improving efficiency across the whole supply chain. Technology and analytics will facilitate greater real-time visibility, with innovations such as pervasive sensors giving rise to ‘smart’ operations from ‘farm to fork’, supporting the balance between supply and demand.

It is recommended that the food and drink industry shares more information with customers, using rich data to optimise production processes.

CCE Example: A new £33m Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) warehouse at CCE’s Sidcupsite will open in early 2017, saving more than 10,000 road miles and 3,800 tonnes of CO2 a year.

2. Providing nutrition:

In the future, the food and drink industrywill continue to face greater scrutiny in all aspects of business, from ingredients used to the ethics of food labelling and animal welfare. ‘Smart’ ingredients will emerge, with the potential to replace or alter other content such as sugar, fat and salt.

It is recommended that the food and drink industry continues its efforts to offer new services that focus on delivering broad value to customers, increasing emphasis on personalisation and nutrition. Using more local resources and improving efficiency with real-time monitoring technologies will also help to eliminate waste.

CCE Example: Coca-Cola Life™ has been reformulated so that it will contain 45 per cent less sugar and calories than regular (full sugar) colas in GB[1].  Coca-Cola Life will continue to be sweetened with a blend of sugar and stevia plant extract but the recipe has been changed to include a greater level of stevia plant extract.

3. Sharing the benefits:

In the future, increased industry collaboration is expected to emerge, from co-creating new products to sharing intellectual property (IP).

It is recommended that the food and drink industry works to engage society when creating products, with shared IP and open innovation used as a way to protect the environment. Large food and drink companies must show leadership and proactively engage with consumers to deliver against their needs.

CCE Example: A joint challenge with open innovation platform, OpenIDEO, crowdsourced ideas for encouraging better recycling habits at home. As well as being taken into consideration in CCE’s own activity, the concepts generated were shared online for all to use.

4. Inspiring the next generation:

In the future, the skills gap will continue to grow as a generation of experienced employees retire. Despite an increased use of automation and other technology, people will remain vital to tackling the challenges of sustainability. 

It is recommended that the food and drink industry does more to integrate with schools and universities, reaching learners as early as possible. Ethics was identified as a common concern among young people so businesses must demonstrate the role industry can play in addressing core societal challenges, e.g. tackling climate change, food supply and energy security.  

CCE Example: CCE has invested £4 million in its GB education programme, The Real Experience, over the past five years. To date this has engaged over 390,000 young people in manufacturing careers as well as raising awareness of key issues such as recycling and litter. CCE’s national graduate and apprenticeship programme currently employs 28 apprentices across its supply chain, technical services and field sales (with a target to double field sales apprentices in 2016).

5. Joining forces:

In the future, the way value and leadership is understood will change dramatically as companies join forces with customers, with society and with each other. This will become accepted as the only way to grow positively whilst reducing footprint.

It is recommended that food and drink manufacturers become key agents of change, using their insight to help educate and strengthen different aspects of the value chain and society on how to achieve positive environmental impact.

CCE Example: CCE iscollaborating with a wide variety of industry stakeholders in 2016 to address and tackle the issue of litter across GB. This will include the launch this March of the findings of a joint research project with Keep Britain Tidy.

Steve Adams, Group Director of Supply Chain Operations, at Coca-Cola Enterprises GB, said: “Our research with Cranfield University has revealed valuable insights on how sustainability will evolve across the food and drink supply chain. Identifying five key pathways and suggested actions to support the sustainable journey to 2050 and beyond, is helping us shape how we think about the future of our own business. We’re excited to already be putting these actions into practice and have today launched a £56m investment plan as we continue our commitment to sustainable local manufacturing here in GB.

Leadership by both individuals and organisations feature strongly as a core theme throughout the research. We hope others will embrace these pathways and visions for the future to help shape and transform the future of the sector towards more sustainable manufacturing.”

Mark Jolly, Professor of Sustainable Manufacturing atCranfield University, added: “This joint research project between Coca-Cola Enterprises and Cranfield University has been a fascinating exploration of how the food and drink industry can truly embrace sustainable manufacturing in the future. We’ve unearthed five pathways, with specific actions that businesses can apply which will truly impact not only their own organisations, but their employees, their consumers, their customers and the wider society in which they operate.”    




Any companies or individuals looking to comment on the Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future study are invited to join the discussion with CCE and Cranfield. Please share your thoughts by tweeting @CokeCCE using the hashtag #futurefactorycce


Notes to Editors


An overview of CCE’s investments across its GB operations in 2016:

  • A new £33m Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) warehouse at CCE’s Sidcup site will open in early 2017, saving more than 10,000 road miles and 3,800 tonnes of CO2 a year. The site will also invest in a new £11 million line to support local production of Capri-Sun.
  • A £14 million investment at CCE’s Morpeth factory will help to build a new high speed, fully automated water-processing and bottling line which will open in 2016. This will more than double production capability to 56,000 bottles per hour, from the current line’s capability of 18,200 bottles per hour.
  • CCE’s East Kilbride factory will install a new £2.3 million water treatment plant which will save nine million litres of water each year.
  • A new £3.5 million Pallet Flex system at CCE’s Wakefield site will offer greater efficiencies by offering industry standard quarter pallets for 330ml and 500ml cans in packs, and up to 2Ltr PET in packs and loose bottles.


For more information please contact:

Coca-Cola Enterprises Press Office

01895 844 828


About Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd

Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (CCE) is the world's third-largest independent Coca-Cola bottler.  CCE is the sole licensed bottler for products of The Coca-Cola Company in Belgium, continental France, Great Britain, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.

In Great Britain, Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd employs some 4,000 people across England, Scotland and Wales at manufacturing sites and depots.

CCE is committed to minimising the environmental impact of its products and operations, with a particular focus on sustainable packaging and recycling, water stewardship, and energy and climate protection.

For further information please visit


About Cranfield University

Cranfield is an exclusively postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.


Manufacturing at Cranfield

Cranfield University plays a key role in ensuring the UK stays at the cutting edge of manufacturing research. Cranfield is a driving force for both the rapid growth of established areas of manufacturing expertise and the development of new research areas. Research partnerships are undertaken with more than 500 organisations of all sizes and disciplines. Industry advisory panels ensure our graduates move seamlessly from the academic world into the world of work and provide skills the sector needs.


The six themes identified in: Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future White Paper 1 - June 2015

1. People Employees are fundamental to enacting change and must be effectively engaged, well-trained, flexible and skilled at all levels within an organisation.

2. Big Data The availability of data is set to play an ever more important role in organisations and society as a whole.

3. Technology By connecting with Big Data and localisation, companies can benefit from some radical innovations in their sector.

4. Collaboration More symbiotic relationships will emerge between a company, its supply chain and its broader stakeholder network in the coming years.

5. Value The value of the resources we use will be re-evaluated. For example, the growing servitization and adaptability of products that can be used beyond their intended purpose to deliver ‘value beyond profit’.

6. Resilience The ability to adapt to change, and do this at speed, will be key to future decision-making as our industry seeks to maintain a supply of quality, ethically-sourced raw materials.


[1] Coca-Cola Life new formulation launching April 2016 – 45 per cent less sugar and calories than full sugar colas in GB

Further resources

Full report




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