UK: Just two Coca Cola drinks will remain above sugar tax line

Published: 08/11/2017, 4:30:54 PM

Coca-Cola European Partners has said just two of its brands - Monster and Coke Classic - will remain within reach of the upcoming UK sugar tax, once the group has completed its reformulation efforts, according to the UK's Just Drinks.

Speaking to analysts Thursday, CEO Damian Gammell said the bottler has already brought 40% of its UK business under the minimum sugar threshold for the levy. He said sugar-reduction work will accelerate ahead of the tax's implementation in April next year, ultimately leaving just the flagship energy drinks brand and full-sugar Coca-Cola in the duty's firing line.

CCEP is "very much focused on reformulating pretty much all of our brands, except Coke Classic and Monster out of the tax", Gammell said. "Clearly, the reformulation was the priority and I'm very pleased ... that we could move so quickly to get that done."

The UK sugar tax will have a taxable threshold of 5g per 10cl, leading a number of UK soft drinks producers to reformulate products to contain less sugar.

CCEP has already lowered the sugar content of Fanta Orange and Sprite by a third to bring the brands under the threshold.

According to Gammell, only 40% of CCEP's UK sales will be above the sugar threshold after April, with the share being "essentially Coke Red and Monster Green".

Meanwhile, Gammell said it is still too early to gauge the effect of a sugar tax in Catalonia, which was implemented in May. Under the rules, beverages with between 5g and 8g of sugar for every 10cl will incur a EUR0.08 tax per litre, while those with more than 8g per 10cl will face a EUR0.12 per litre charge.