Retailers have reacted angrily to the news that Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is to replace 2ltr packs of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero in the independent channel with a new 1.75ltr format.

The new pack, to be launched in the next couple of months, will have an rrp of £1.79, with some stock pricemarked at this level.

Leading independent retailers are hoping that CCE can be persuaded to reverse the decision. David Knight of Knight’s Budgens, Hassocks in West Sussex, described the move as “worrying”.

“Customers are savvy now and they look at unit pricing all the time,” he told C-Store. “This would just make the independent sector stand out as expensive.”

Paul Cheema of Malcolms Stores in Coventry said that phasing out 2ltr Coke would “hurt the independent sector”.

He added: “It should be a level playing field and until now we could match the multiples on 2ltr pricing and beat them on Pepsi. You’ve got to give the customer what they want, and 2ltr is what they expect from us.”

CCE justified the move to 1.75ltr on the basis of “robust insight into shopper purchasing behaviour”.

In an official statement the company claimed: “The 1.75ltr bottle is intended to offer value for money to shoppers thanks to its manufacturer suggested selling price of £1.79.

“This launch also reflects CCE’s commitment to offering unique pack sizes to customers in different channels and environments. This lighter pack has been designed specifically for the convenience shopper who is making a single bottle mission to their local convenience store. This contrasts with a 2ltr bottle that is typically bought as part of a larger shopping mission in bigger stores.

“The 1.75ltr pack will come in the iconic contour-shaped bottle to deliver increased stand out in-store and will also be available in a £1.79 pmp. We are currently working with our customers on our launch plans for the new format and we expect it to be received well by shoppers due to its greater everyday affordability.”