Coca-Cola speeds up efforts to cut sugar in drinks

Tuesday, 15 November 2016 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Over 200 drink 

reformulations underway 

to reduce sugar: COO

Reuters: Coca-Cola Co has said it would step up efforts to reduce sugar in its beverages, amid growing pressure from health experts and governments who have blamed sugary drinks for a rise in obesity.

The company’s move comes after rival PepsiCo Inc announced plans to reduce sugar in its drinks recently.

Coca-Cola has over 200 reformulation initiatives underway to reduce added sugar in its drinks and is launching more sugar-free, low- and no-calorie products, Chief Operating Officer James Quincey said on a post-earnings call.

The company, which gets about 70% of its volume sales from fizzy drinks, is also rolling out Coca-Cola Zero with a “new and improved taste,” he said.

Coca-Cola has also been building its non-carbonated drinks portfolio and offloading much of its bottling business to cope with falling demand for carbonated beverages in North America, its biggest market.

Volumes of noncarbonated drinks, which include tea, juices and energy drinks, in the region grew 2% in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

The world’s largest beverage maker has relied on smaller pack sizes and premium packaging using glass and aluminium to drive margins in developed markets.

Total sales in North America rose 3% to $ 2.66 billion. Volume sales of carbonated beverages such as Sprite, Fanta and Coca-Cola Zero rose, while those of Diet Coke fell.

Coca-Cola also announced six new franchising agreements with bottlers.

Following these deals, the company would have refranchised territories that account for about 65% of total US bottler-delivered distribution volume.

The company aims to refranchise all its North American territories by the end of 2017.

Coca-Cola’s net income attributable to shareholders fell 28% to $ 1.05 billion, or 24 cents per share.