Speaking at ISBA’s annual conference today (13 March), general manager of Coca-Cola UK and Ireland Woods urged brands to “rebase accordingly” to the “challenging reality” of the industry.
He added: “Top-line growth will remain elusive, margins will continue under pressure, and innovative muscles will need to be flexed to generate more for less.
Woods acknowledged that the Government cannot afford to let up on austerity measures but said restoring consumer confidence is the fundamental challenge for politicians.
“Experience of previous recessions underline just how long it takes for consumer confidence, in the face of incomes declining in real terms, to recover”, He added. “This reality, in my view, requires all business, wherever they sit in the value chain, to review their business models”.
Separately, Woods hailed the progress of the Government’s Responsibility Deal with the food and drink industry as proof that collaborative measures were the way to drive industry change rather than regulation.
He added: “This challenging reality has implications for all of us, including Government, whose focus will continue to be on the economy, rather than the unnecessary further regulation of our industry. And the Government should be encouraged by the fact that partnership with – rather than the regulation of – industry, is actually working.”