With Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt stating earlier this year that potential statutory limits for sugar, salt and fat levels in foods “remained on the table” if companies didn’t deliver down the voluntary route, CCE md Simon Baldry was keen to focus on the company’s endeavours in this area at the publication of its 2012 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report.
“We have taken substantial steps over the last 12 months,” he said, adding the firm had pledged to reduce the number of calories per litre by 5% by 2014.
In terms of reformulation, Sprite was relaunched in March with a stevia/sugar blend, which cut calories by 30%, while its Glaceau vitamin water brand was also reformulated, leading to a 30% reduction in calorie levels.
‘Accelerate its portfolio’
In addition to further reformulation work in 2013, Baldry said he would “accelerate” its portfolio of diet and Coke Zero brands and strengthen how they were marketed.
“45% of our sales are now in this area and we will accelerate portfolio improvements,” he added.
Pack size would also be a key focus in the year ahead, added Baldry, pointing to the launch of 375ml ‘on the go’ bottles as an example of how it was encouraging more responsible consumption.
One area he was reluctant to dismiss, however, was buy-one-get-one-free deals, which some claim encourage excessive consumption. Baldry said they had a role, especially for larger bottles, which “might only last a family two or three days”.
More important, he added, was to effectively deploy advertising to enable consumers to make informed choices.
“We advertise that there are 139 calories in a can of Coke, we are not trying to hide that, but we are trying to encourage people to burn off those calories,” he said.
“We very much want to be part of the discussion and I think you can see a very clear commitment that we are engaging on all levels.”