Britvic carbonated drinks sales fall flat after CO2 shortages

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

The CO2 shortage meant Britvic couldn't keep up fizzy drink demand in the summer sun
The CO2 shortage meant Britvic couldn't keep up fizzy drink demand in the summer sun
Drinks manufacturer Britvic’s sales have fallen flat in its third-quarter results, as shortages in carbon dioxide (CO2) prevented it from capitalising on the UK’s recent heatwave.

While it reported a 3.4% rise in sales to £366.9m in the four weeks to 24 June compared with the same period last year, revenue excluding the Soft Drinks Industry Levy decreased 0.6% compared with the previous quarter.

The Pepsi and J2O producer said it has scaled back on promotions for its carbonated drinks and, instead, concentrated on its sugar-free and non-carbonated beverages to compensate.

Still drinks drive sales

As a result, sales of still drinks in the UK grew 11.9% (11.7% excluding the sugar tax), driven by its Robinsons and J2O brands.

Supply has now normalised for the company, enabling Britvic to start rebuilding stock levels and gradually introduce promotions. It also confirmed the shift from full-sugar to low- or no-sugar products was accelerating.

Commenting on the results, chief executive officer Simon Litherland said: “While the industry-wide shortage of carbon dioxide held back our ability to fully capitalise on the exceptional weather in GB and Ireland, we leveraged the breadth and strength of our portfolio to moderate the impact. Consequently, we remain confident of achieving market expectations for the full year.”

Adverse weather in France

Sales in Ireland were up 11.3% (6.6% excluding the sugar tax), again boosted by the company’s stills portfolio. Adverse weather in France meant sales dropped by 15% in the region in June – the total soft drinks market volume declined 14% and a syrups market volume declined 23%.

The rest of the world saw an 8.7% increase in sales, with Fruit Shoot a major driver of revenue in the US.

The CO2 shortage that has plagued the food and drink industry occurred late last month (June) due to an ammonia production issue, coupled with plant maintenance.

Although some CO2 plants have resumed production earlier this month, it was expected that the following weeks would be disruptive for food businesses as their get their supply back on track. 

Related topics: Drinks

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