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Coca-Cola Enterprises tight-lipped on pending 375ml PET bottle launch

By Ben Bouckley and Rick Pendrous , 23-Feb-2012
Last updated on 23-Feb-2012 at 17:27 GMT

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has given a guarded reaction to a media enquiries regarding the planned launch a new 375ml bottle onto the UK market, despite its GB managing director informing journalists at a press conference that the firm intended to make this move.

Introducing CCE’s new ‘Store of the Future’ report in London on Tuesday (prepared with food analysis firm IGD), CCE’s MD for Great Britain, Simon Baldry, said the firm was planning such a launch.

Contacted by BeverageDaily.com, CCE said the comments had been made in the context of a press conference at the event, and added that the firm was not currently ready to discuss new launches.

“We are always looking at a range of different pack sizes across our portfolio, including 375ml, but we have no plans to share,” a spokeswoman told this publication.

However, Baldry told assembled journalists (including our sister publication Food Manufacture magazine) that CCE was intending to launch a smaller bottle to drive consumer interest in its brands.

“So one of the things you will be seeing from us very shortly launched into the marketplace is a 375ml PET [polyethylene terephthalate] bottle. A smaller-sized bottle, recognising that there is an opportunity in the marketplace for a different size of reseable PET to that that’s available to date," he said.

Classic contour shape

Baldry also said that more Coca-Cola packaging would be developed in the classic contour shape to develop brand recognition and growth, and establish a point of difference for consumers.

In addition to (1) the contour shape and (2) improving packaging quality, Baldry said that CCE was also focused on (3) reducing the "absolute use" of packaging: taking weight out of cans and bottles.

"Indeed as we have done with our immediate consumption products, removing trays and going into a single shrink-wrap. All of those opportunities are where we are focusing today around packaging. And there will be developments that come in all those three areas that I have just described," he said.

The Store of the Future event itself centred on IGD’s predictions – in its report commissioned by CCE – that future shoppers will demand more personalisation, with promotions and deals tailored to individual needs, and sustainability.

Social media and online forums providing advice and reviews will also grow in importance, while smartphones and ‘intelligent trolleys’ will satisfy this desire for personalisation; the value of the online shopping market is also expected to grow from 5.9bn in 2010 to 11.2bn in 2016.

Smartphones could be used to scan cans to re-order products from home, while intelligent retail fixtures could capture product availability data and sales volumes, IGD-CCE report said.

‘Nimble and innovative’

Baldry said that CCE was aware that its category had “plenty of room for growth”, with the firm looking to unlock opportunities through strong partnerships across the trade and paying attention to the needs shoppers.

He added: “But we must always be thinking ahead, particularly when it comes to the incredibly dynamic retail environments in which people make their purchasing decisions, and this research has shaped our understanding of how we can continue to succeed in the future by meeting the requirements of both our customers and shoppers.”

CCE needed to challenge itself to be “more nimble and innovative” across its business, while sustainability would remain at the heart of its business, Baldry said.

“In an increasingly connected world, it’s clear from IGD’s work that the way in which all of us engage and interact with shoppers will change, not least when we think about the next generation of digital savvy consumers,” he added.

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