South Africa: Coca-Cola stays in touch with changing tastes and consumers preferences in the country


20 Oct 2017 --- Coca-Cola in South Africa, in line with its global long-term business strategy, is evolving to become a total beverage company that can be even more responsive to people’s changing tastes and needs. 

For years Coca-Cola has given people the drinks they want and love. However, times change and people expect the company to grow and change with them. This included not only rethinking many of its drinks and package sizes but also broadening its already diverse portfolio to include more brands across existing categories including juices, iced tea and purified water as well as new products such as dairy products and ready to drink coffee.

The company said it supported the current recommendation by several leading health authorities, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), that people should limit their intake of added sugar to no more than 10 percent of their total energy or calorie consumption. 

“We’re rethinking many of our drinks and package sizes around the world to reduce calories and sugar and reflect the changing tastes and dietary preferences of our consumers. We are also committed to providing a greater range of beverage choices for those wishing to moderate their sugar intake,” says Roger Gauntlett, the General Manager of Coca-Cola Africa’s South Africa Franchise.

Last year, The Coca-Cola Company reduced sugar in more than 200 of their drinks globally to help consumers drink less sugar.  Since 2014, the company has launched more than 100 new low- or no-calorie thirst quenchers worldwide in response to people’s changing preferences.

This means that approximately 30 percent of the more than 3,900 beverages produced by Coca-Cola globally fall into the low or no-sugar categories and 18 out of its 20 top brands now feature a low or no-sugar option.

As part of its long-term business strategy, The Coca-Cola Company said it would focus on bringing new drinks to market that provide benefits such as nutrition and hydration. It would also make smaller, more convenient packages to make controlling sugar easier and give people clear, easy-to-find calorie information up front to help them make truly informed choices.   

“We’re making low and no-sugar drinks more visible and educating people about our low and zero sugar options through our marketing,” says Mr. Gauntlett. 

In South Africa, over the last three years, the Coca-Cola system has reduced the average sugar content across the portfolio by 16 percent. Through their continuing reduction efforts, they aim to reach a total of 22-24 percent by the end of 2018.  This is ahead of industry commitment to 14-18 calories per person per day reduction by 2018. 

As part of a global strategy, The Coca-Cola Company has also been looking at ways to keep people’s’ favorite beverages affordable, while also recognizing their changing tastes and preferences. 

Market research showed that people were looking for packaging sizes that suit smaller households and that make it easier to control their added sugar intake. 

New pack sizes include a 300ml offering to replace the 330ml version; and a 440ml to replace the 500ml version.  

“The good news is that we can see that these changes are already having a positive impact and that people are switching from regular, full-sugar drinks to low-sugar alternatives,” says Gauntlett.   

He said the new way forward was the result of listening to the people we serve and making sure they are at the center of everything we do so that Coca-Cola in South Africa can grow responsibly.

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