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Jun 30, 2015 / Richard Hall


I find it fascinating to see just how far the soft drinks industry has progressed in the past few years on a host of corporate social responsibility measures. Last week I was looking through the latest report from Coca-Cola on its activities in Great Britain and here is a selection of indicators that might have seemed unachievable until very recently:

• 1.29 litres of water used to make 1 litre of drink in 2014
• 34% recycled content in PET bottles
• 43% of cola and 39% of all drinks sold as lower or no calorie.

There was also a useful reminder of where the company’s carbon footprint comes from:

• 50% packaging
• 18% ingredients
• 18% refrigeration
• 8% manufacturing
• 6% distribution.

Jun 25, 2015 / Richard Hall

World changer – 100% plant based plastic

My second wish list world changer has also recently moved closer to becoming a reality.

What if plastic were not derived from oil but came from plant materials instead and could also be recycled ? Wouldn’t that transform consumer perceptions and confidence ?

This month Coca-Cola displayed a fully 100% plant based and 100% recyclable PET bottle at the World Expo in Milan.

It has already sold 35 billion bottles with some 30% plant based plastic as well as some recycled content.

It may be a few years before the 100% plant bottle is in commercial production and cost competitive with oil based PET. But the technology is now proven and the prospect certainly quenches my thirst.

Jun 23, 2015 / Richard Hall

World changer – Half calorie sugar

This week, I wish to focus on two possible world changers in terms of technological advances which could help meet society demands so effectively that they may transform consumer sentiment and behaviour.

Obesity has become a great scourge of today’s lifestyle. What if sugar could be produced just as naturally but with fewer than half the calories ?

Well, apparently, this has now been achieved by an Israeli company DouxMatok, which means twice as sweet in French and Hebrew.

Moreover, the new product is based on sugar and costs no more, using less of it by increasing the surface area in contact with our taste buds.

Ironically, the downside for many products is that their volume may need to be topped up by other ingredients to maintain pack size consistency.

Maybe consumers will instead prefer an all-natural zero calorie sweetener with sugar taste equivalence.

Neither task is yet complete, but man’s inventiveness seems to be on the way there.

Jun 18, 2015 / Richard Hall

World’s top 15 soft drinks brands

3 soft drinks brands feature in the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2015 – Coca-Cola at 8, Pepsi at 79 and Red Bull at 94.

The leading brand overall is Apple on $250 billion and the 100th brand is worth $11 billion.

Curiously, the soft drinks top 15 include hot drinks and separate out diet versions.  In full, they are: 

Rank Brand

$bn value



1 Coca-Cola


2 Diet Coke (including Light , Zero)


3 Red Bull


4 Pepsi


5 Nescafé


6 Tropicana


7 Fanta


8 Sprite


9 Nespresso


10 Gatorade


11 Lipton (hot tea)


12 Minute Maid


13 Dr Pepper


14 Mountain Dew


15 Diet Pepsi


5 are owned by Coca-Cola, 5 by PepsiCo and 2 by Nestlé – both hot.

It’s extraordinary how far Coca-Cola outperforms all other brands in this analysis.  And how far Red Bull has come.

I wonder when Big Cola, Capri-Sun, Keurig, Lipton Ice Tea, Monster and Nestlé Pure Life will enter the rankings.  Which others do think should already be there or will be soon ?



Jun 16, 2015 / Richard Hall

Fruit juice and good health

I chaired a session at the recent Juiceful Istanbul Summit and heard more about how the industry is seeking to answer its critics as well as rebuild confidence amongst consumers.

Here are four of the many new insights I took away.

• Consumer attitudes about fruit juice and health in the past year have declined by 2.9% in developed countries, 1.8% in developing countries and as much as 8% in Turkey, but have improved by 4.4% in emerging markets.

• 125ml packs are becoming more common in the United States, appealing particularly to parents of 1-3 year old children.

• If you drink 100 calories before a meal, you are likely to eat 85 calories less during a meal.

• On the wider issue of sugar in the overall diet, the world’s highest consumers are Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, with 15-19 year olds consuming the most.

Jun 11, 2015 / Richard Hall

US craft beer in numbers

Artisanal production is gaining ground all over the world. US craft beers are leading the way. The May 2015 issue of Beverage World provides the proof for 2014.

• Craft beer retail value $19,600 million
• Craft value share of total beer 19.3%
• Number of craft breweries 3,418
• New craft breweries 615
• Craft beer off-premise value growth +20.5%

Yet cider is growing even faster.

• 2014 volume +68.3%
• 2014 measured retail value +72.9%

Jun 9, 2015 / Richard Hall

39 acquisitions in May

2 of May’s 39 food and drink industry transactions recorded on the database were worth more than $1,000 million:

• $2,150 million for the US based Owen-Illinois packaging purchase of Vitro in Mexico
• $1,200 million for Suntory to buy Japan Tobacco’s beverage and vending business.

Out of the 39 total, 9 were in alcohol, 6 in soft drinks, 5 in packaging, 4 in services and 3 each in dairy and ingredients.

25 countries were involved, with the United States featuring in 19 deals including 12 within the country. The other most active nations were the United Kingdom on 7, France on 6, Germany on 3 and Turkey on 3.

Jun 4, 2015 / Richard Hall

Tea to be overtaken in Britain

I was struck by an infographic last month from my regional railway operator First Great Western.

It gave just 3 pieces of information.

• Trains run per weekday 1,500
• Cups of tea served per year 1,665,500
• Bottles of a certain beverage ‘enjoyed last year’ 1,618,300.

What was the beverage? Bottled water.

On the high speed line. No delays.