Coke to increase low- and no-calorie options

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

CCE boss Den Hollander: 'With Life ... no reason we cannot go beyond 50%'
CCE boss Den Hollander: 'With Life ... no reason we cannot go beyond 50%'

Related tags Polyethylene terephthalate Obesity

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) plans to drive up the proportion of low- or no calorie soft drinks its sells in the UK to well above 50% over the next few years.

This is one of the priorities for action set out by Leendert den Hollander, CCE GB’s md and vice president, last month. CCE also needed to make sure its products were readily available where, when and in the format that shoppers wanted to buy them: including in the multiples and online, as well as through convenience and discount store outlets, he said.

CCE had to reflect changing demographics, with more one- and two-person households, which tended to shop more frequently, but bought fewer items on each trip, he added. “That’s not going to stop either and we need to be able to deal with that – smaller baskets, with more choices.”

Issue in society

Den Hollander, who joined CCE from Young’s Seafood last May, said: “We have to acknowledge there is clearly an issue in society around health and wellness – with obesity and overweight people – and we have to be very vocal about it.

“It is very important that we are very open, very proactive in being part of that debate. But not just being part of the debate but also being part of the solution.”

However, he stressed it was all about offering consumers choice in what soft drinks they were able to buy, rather than “choice editing”.

This meant offering traditional high-sugar coke as well as no-calorie and low-calorie products, such as its new stevia containing Coca-Cola Life and Glacéau Smartwater products.

“In simple stats​ [over] the last 12 weeks, close to 50% if not more than 50% of our product was low- or no-calorie in Coke. And with the addition of Life there is no reason why we cannot go beyond 50%,”​ said den Hollander.

At the same time, CCE would continue to reduce its environmental impact as part of its sustainable business philosophy, which den Hollander said was “part of our DNA”.​ We can expect to see further light-weighting of CCE's polyethylene terephthalate bottles “well below 20g”.

Challenging retailer environment

“Fundamentally, we want to be where our shoppers are; it’s all about omnichannel,”​ said den Hollander. “So there is a very challenging retailer environment; there is the shopper dynamic which is changing structurally and there is the health and wellness debate that is going on.

“I believe the only way to deal with that is to be very agile as a company. And that’s all around adapting all the time,”​ he said. “It’s all about the best ideas, the best execution and then the best team to execute all that.

“As long as we are focused on that, I am positive that we will win.”

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