Paul Hill hears from Gary Black, Coca-Cola European Partners sales director for wholesale and convenience
What new measures has CCEP introduced in the past year to support the wholesale channel?
We’ve reorganised our teams to have a greater focus on specific customer environments. This means we are able to give enhanced support to wholesalers on how best to tailor their soft drinks offer to meet the diverse needs of their customer base.
We’ve also increased our field sales team visits to more than 850,000 this year and, within this, we have a team calling upon wholesale outlets providing advice and support.
Furthermore, last year, we launched an ‘Add to Order’ service to make it easier to order from a chosen wholesaler. The technology used by our reps allows retailers to add CCEP products to their next delivery. This has been transformational for our customers and we’ve now got hundreds of wholesalers on board, with thousands of orders being made weekly.
What NPD have you launched in the past year and how will this support the wholesale channel?
Within convenience outlets, sparkling soft drinks and energy drinks are key performing segments, so we launched Diet Coke Twisted Strawberry and Coca-Cola zero sugar Raspberry, which are now worth £7m1. We also introduced Fanta Grape Zero, which is already worth £5m2, and a Halloween limited edition called Fanta Dark Orange.
We’ve also bolstered our Monster Ultra zero-sugar range with the introduction of Monster Ultra Blue, a citrus berry-flavoured variant. In just three years, the Monster Ultra range has grown to be worth almost £60m in GB and is still growing by 36%.
In May, we launched Coca-Cola Energy, the first energy drink under the Coca-Cola brand, which combines the great Coca-Cola taste with caffeine from naturally derived sources, guarana extracts and B vitamins. The two 250ml variants – with and without sugar – are worth almost £3.5m since launch4.
Furthermore, to tap into cocktail culture and the growing popularity of premium mixers in licensed, we also launched Coca-Cola Signature Mixers, a range of four specially-crafted drinks. The range launched in July through licensed wholesalers for pubs, bars and restaurants.
Finally, and currently rolling out nationwide, the Costa Coffee 250ml RTD can range includes Classic Latte, Caramel Latte and Black Americano. Each variant contains 30% less sugar than most other RTD coffees in GB and is made with the same Mocha Italia coffee beans used in Costa’s high street cafés.
How has CCEP’s sustainability agenda developed over the past 12 months?
Ensuring that our packaging is as sustainable as possible and reducing waste remain two of our biggest priorities. Our bottles and cans are already 100% recyclable and our plastic bottles include 25% recycled plastic (rPET).
We recently announced that by the end of the year, Glacéau Smartwater will be made from 100% rPET, removing 3,100 tonnes of virgin plastic from circulation each year, as well as turning our iconic green Sprite bottles clear to enhance recyclability. We’re also on track to double the amount of rPET used in all other plastic bottles in early 2020 to take them up to 50%.
This year, 400 of our colleagues took part in Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean, while we also supplied clean-up kits to many of our customers, enabling around 2,100 litter-picking hours in local communities across the UK.
We’ll be supporting the Great British Spring Clean again next March and would urge wholesalers to get involved.