Positive nutrition reveals positive profits

Following last week’s announcement by Coca-Cola that there is a £1.4billion opportunity in the soft drinks sales sector over the next five years many of you may have been wondering how exactly you can obtain a slice of this.

As explained in my blog last week, this figure can be boiled down to something as simple as selling an extra soft drink to every customer every fortnight. This really helps put it in perspective – as does the news announced by Coca-Cola today, in which they reveal that sales of Coca-Cola, diet Coke and Coke Zero broke the £1billion barrier over the last year alone. If those three brands (and admittedly in Coke they do have the mightiest soft drink brand of all) alone are topping that figure in a year, then upping the category by a similar amount over five years should be simple, shouldn’t it?

How have their rivals responded to this claim? Well this week PepsiCo revealed that it plans to increase the profits of its own £1.5billion range by focusing on healthier products. The headline figure of its first ever Health Report, which lays out a vision for the path of the company over the next 10 years, is a pledge to make 65 per cent of its carbonated soft drink can and bottle sales ‘no sugar’ by 2015.

The company is pledging to refocus its future research and development on products with “a positive nutrition”, right the way across its range, which includes Quaker, Tropicana, Walkers and Copella. “We’ve achieved a great deal, but we’re committed to going further,” says PepsiCo UK president Richard Evans.

The company is pledging to ‘reshape’ the savoury snack and soft drink categories and deliver 1.8billion servings of fruit and vegetables and 1.7billion servings of wholegrain each year by 2012.

The health question has become about much more than just lower calorie variants over the last few years. Things such as lower salt or sugar, carbohydrates, saturated fats, five-a-day etc have made health a very confusing world for the consumer. PepsiCo’s new claims that 50 per cent of its savoury snacks will be baked or “include positive nutrition” by 2015 may sound incredibly vague but it might be the first time that the health variants listed above have all been lumped together – something we can all get behind, I think.

PepsiCo is hoping that its positive nutrition reveals positive profits. Let’s hope they’re right.


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