Retailers have expressed disappointment over Coca-Cola Enterprises’ (CCE) decision to replace its 2ltr Coke bottle in all retail channels with the 1.75ltr bottle, which had been previously exclusive to convenience stores.
When launched exclusively into the convenience channel in February 2013, the 1.75ltr bottle was “designed specifically for the convenience shopper” and would “contrast with a 2ltr bottle that is typically bought as part of a larger shopping mission in bigger stores,” a CCE spokesman said.
“However, the way people are shopping is changing rapidly and in-depth shopper insights have demonstrated that a growing number of convenience purchasing missions are increasingly taking place across a number of different environments,” he added.
”As a consequence, we’ve made the decision to phase out the 2ltr format in favour of the 1.75ltr contour format.”
Independent retailers believed that a point of difference from the multiples had been taken away from them.
Harj Dhasee of Nisa Village Stores in Mickleton, Gloucestershire said he felt “screwed over” by CCE.
“It’s very disappointing because this was a point of difference for us but now it’s everywhere,” he said. “We’ve been used as a guinea pig for an idea and now that it’s proved successful, it’s been rolled out to the multiples. I’ve lost a lot of trust in the brand and I’m questioning if I should be promoting their products in my store.”
Raaj Chandarana of Tara’s News in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, was also annoyed by the announcement. “It’s very frustrating for us as the 1.75ltr was something different we could offer customers,” he said. “What is CCE going to do to make it up to independent retailers that they’ve let down?”
In response to these retailer complaints, a CCE spokesman said: “As leaders in the industry we are committed to leading the soft drinks category in responding to changing shopper needs. We continue to invest significantly in the independent retail sector, supported by one of the largest field sales teams in Great Britain. Soft drinks continues to be one of the largest categories in convenience and we will continue to offer the support to our customers in this channel that will help to grow their businesses.”