just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
In This Issue...
It's not often trade magazines and the world’s newspapers share headlines. But two subjects that are top of the agenda for the drinks industry wrestled for the limelight here on just-drinks last week whilst also making waves in the broadsheets.
The unveiling of an updated alcohol strategy here in England was the first big story. And this was followed later in the week by the announcement of the creation of the Europe-wide Alcohol and Health Forum. Although both moves confirm what we already knew about the national and international bodies – that they’re watching alcoholic drinks companies very closely – both were generally welcomed by the industry.
Thankfully, neither announcement revealed an overtly aggressive stance from the authorities, but there were signs that the rhetoric is being ramped up ever so slightly. So, whilst the drinks industry seems to be persuading the legislators it is pushing the responsible drinking message in the right direction, no one can afford to take their eye off this thorniest of issues.
The environment, meanwhile, is the other subject you can expect us to be writing a lot about for years to come. The Coca-Cola Co,’s announcement that it will aim to replace the water it uses in its beverages and their production , generated stacks of column inches the world over.
just-drinks attended two food and drinks industry conferences last week alongside its sister publication, just-food. The environment was the entire focus of one of these days and a large portion of the other. The biggest thing I took out of our attendance was what a hugely complicated issue this is. Carbon footprints, food miles, sustainability, fair trade - all these issues are interlinked, of course, but without necessarily being either compatible with one another or a satisfactory solution on their own to ‘green’ pressures.
But what is clear is that this is an area that consumers are starting to take a great interest in indeed, and intentions like Coca-Cola’s should be applauded for keeping the drinks industry at the forefront of the agenda. If you’re doing your bit to go green, then we want to know about it.
Elsewhere, Danone saw the trials and tribulations of operating in China take yet another interesting turn last week, with the resignation of the head of one of its joint-ventures in the country. With the political relationship with Russia turning frosty – the British government has actually stepped up its warnings to businesses about the risks of investing in the country – the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) economies remain fascinating enigmas.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
V&S Group’s move into the local Chinese spirits market via a joint venture with Sichuan company JianNanChun offers the Swedish company access to the growing premium sector of a massive spirits industry. Sam Mulligan examines the opportunities and challenges presented by the huge baijiu market which is proving such a tempting proposition to international companies.
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