Coca-Cola launches three new drinks ahead of UK sugar tax

Drinks giant Coca-Cola is to launch three new drinks products in the UK as it looks for ways to beat the forthcoming sugar tax. 
The company’s UK boss Jon Woods said it would be the first time it had launched three brands in a year - a sign that the firm’s US-based chief executive James Quincey, a Brit who took the reins in May last year, wants the business to be more proactive.
Mr Woods said the launch of ice tea drink Fuzetea, ready-to-drink cold coffee Honest Coffee, and dairy-alternative smoothies brand AdeZ, would mean that 30pc of UK sales would be still drinks in the next few years - double today’s level.
“These launches have moved much quicker through the business than before,” Mr Woods said. “This is a sign of things to come.”
It comes as the UK soft drinks market grew at a sluggish 2.6pc in 2017, well behind the 4pc rate globally, as consumers increasingly seek healthier alternatives.
Coca-Cola launches three new drinks ahead of UK sugar tax

Fuzetea will be one of the brands Coca-Cola is launching into the UK this year that won't trigger the forthcoming sugar tax
The sugar tax takes effect in April. There are two bands under the levy: a 24p per litre level for beverages with 8g of sugar per 100ml, and an 18p per litre level for drinks with 5g of sugar per 100ml. The proceeds will go towards funding sport in primary schools.
Coca-Cola has reformulated most of its fizzy drinks to ensure nearly all of them will avoid the levy. Fanta, for instance had 10g of sugar per 100ml a few years ago but now falls under the 5g level. Its original Coca-Cola won’t be altered, however, and so will incur the tax.
Fuzetea and AdeZ will be launched by April while Honest Coffee is expected to hit shelves in September. None of these brands, which have an existing presence in other countries, will trigger the levy.
About | The sugar tax
Mr Woods said all drinks manufacturers were being encouraged by the Government to pass the cost of the levy on to retailers and he expected supermarkets and other outlets to raise the price of high-sugar drinks.
In terms of the current scrutiny about single-use plastics, Mr Woods said a quarter of each plastic bottle the company sold was made up of recycled material and that he wanted to hit 50pc by 2020.
“The reason you cannot go beyond 50pc is that you cannot buy enough food-grade recycled plastic,” he said. “But we will also use our marketing to encourage people to recycle, through both our adverts and asking people to recycle the bottle on each lid.”
Mr Woods also wants to contribute towards creating a deposit return scheme, whereby individuals would get a small amount of money back for each bottle they return.
“We want our bottles back as consumers expect us to get them back - I don’t like seeing my brands littered,” he said.
He added that some European countries had a return rate of more than 90pc because of their deposit schemes, whereas the UK was at roughly 60pc.
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