Classic Coca-Cola will be supplied in smaller take-home bottles once the soft drinks sugar levy comes into force in April, but the company has ruled out any change to the product’s recipe.
The levy, or “sugar tax”, will be imposed on the manufacture of soft drinks with added sugar above a certain threshold, meaning that the cost of production of Coca-Cola will rise. As a result, suppler Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is to reduce the size of take-home packs and multipacks so that the prices of full sugar and sugar-free variants will remain closely aligned. All varieties will continue to be supplied in 330ml cans and 500ml PET bottles, but for these the rrp and price-marks will be adjusted to reflect the impact of the levy.
For regular Coca-Cola, the 1.75l and 1.25l sizes will be discontinued, and replaced with 1.5l and 1l pack formats at a similar price point. 10-can multipacks will become 8-packs, while 15-packs will go down to 12.
For a 500ml PET, retail pricemarks will be £1.25 for regular Coke and £1.09 for the two sugar free styles, Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. Cans will be 79p for regular, 69p for Diet and 55p for Zero, as part of a strategy to drive trial for the brand. Classic Coke in 1.5l bottles will be pricemarked at £1.99 or ‘two for £3.30’, which compares with £1.85 or ‘two for £2.85’ for 1.75l of the lighter varieties.
Original Monster energy drink, which also comes above the sugar levy threshold, will now carry a pricemark of £1.35, compared to £1.19 for sugar-free variants. Unmarked stock will continue to be available for all products.
While 70% of cola sold (by value) through the convenience channel is accounted for by CCEP’s three brands, the Zero variety is only in 36% distribution for the can and 56% for the 500ml PET, compared to 91% and 94% for regular Coke. The company will be tripling the number of field sales calls made on retailers during the next year, and reps will carry tablet computers able to instantly add sugar-free products to retailers’ usual wholesale order.
In addition, £25m will be invested in the company’s two sugar-free colas during the year, including a rebrand of Diet Coke and the addition of new flavour variants to both Diet Coke and Zero to encourage new consumers to try the brands.