Coca-Cola: ‘We are not the cause of the obesity crisis, we are a solution’

Coca-Cola has once again waded into the sugar-tax debate as Leendert den Hollander, VP and general manager of Coca-Cola Enterprises, defended the soft drinks industry.

Coca-Cola hopes that the new campaign will make consumers more aware of its lower or no sugar options.

Speaking today (May 11) at the British Retail Consortium’s Retail Symposium 2016 event, den Hollander said that the British soft drink industry had achieved a 14% calorie reduction over the last four years and contributed £11bn annually to the economy.

He was also keen to highlight that Coca-Cola has been on a health-conscious journey for “some time”, using its launch of Diet Coke in 1982 as an example.

READ MORE: Why soft drink brands should embrace the sugar tax

“Every single day, 46 million people enjoy a soft drink yet if you type ‘soft drinks and health’ into Google you’ll get 37 million hits so there’s clearly something going on and it is something we have to tackle,” he told delegates.

“But we’ve been on a journey for healthier options for some time now. We’re not the cause of the obesity crisis but a solution.”

Giving an insight into CCE’s future strategy on sugar, den Hollander said that offering “even more” new low calorie products would be the “way forward”.

Digital focus during Euro 2016

Den Hollander also reiterated CCE’s commitment to digital. He said that 58% of Brits currently turn to the web for inspiration for recipes. To tap into this trend, the Coca-Cola brand will offer unique recipes, that change cuisines based on the teams competing, through its digital channels during the Euro 2016 tournament.

There will be a “local feel” to Coca-Cola’s digital activity around the football tournament, with den Hollander urging brands to be “contextual and targeted” by adapting their campaigns uniquely from market to market.

Brands must also accept that consumers are now their main content creators, according to den Hollander.

He concluded: “Rewind 10 years or so and as marketers we thought we could create all the content for the consumer. There was an assumption that the marketer defined everything a consumer sees about a brand.

“But in the digital age, marketers now produce about 10% of the content. The rest is all created by the consumer through likes, posts and engagement. You have to accept that reality and tap into it to succeed.”

Hide Comments7 Show Comments
  • Pete Austin 11 May 2016 at 2:08 pm

    “we are the solution” – the solution of sugar in water

  • Ian Dawkins 12 May 2016 at 11:07 am

    There’s not one aspect of the coca cola product offering that delivers a healthy benefit to the body. Coca cola will one day be obsolete as a brand as people continue to wake up and take responsibility for what they are consuming. And trust me, Coke is not the solution.

  • gingergeezer 15 May 2016 at 5:33 pm

    The solution to reducing the significant rise in Type 2 diabetes in adults and children is to lay off the pop. Den Hollander is peddling the same bullshit as the tobacco companies whose modus operandi is to saturate developing countries with cheap products. In Mexico the country’s bloody drugs war has claimed over
    100,000 lives in the past decade. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand,
    kills 70,000 per year. Go figure Den and then sing loudly ‘I’d like to teach the World to LIve’.

    • Wobblydangly 17 May 2016 at 6:06 am

      The solution is to legalise drugs- get rid of the crime. Banning Coke or Sugar is not the solution

  • d huge 16 May 2016 at 7:08 am

    our kids will one day look at what we used to feed them and shake their heads in disbelief…coke sugar will be forced out of the market (by cost not conscience) which they will spin it into a thin girl at the beach laughing for no reason, sucking on a fresh new bottle…

  • Pat 18 May 2016 at 8:28 am

    Consumers are, by and large, dumb and uninformed enough to continue to line the pockets of processed food and drink manufacturers. They, and their shareholders, snigger over their bank balances as they head off for their low-carb paleo meals, herbal teas and super-food fruit juices.

  • Marcus Tullius 17 Aug 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Sugary drinks are by far and away the biggest cause of obesity amongst children and young adults. Not all calories are equal. Kids don’t get obese from drinking full-fat milk (which causes a negligible insulin spike) – they get obese from sugar.

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