The BSDA said the industry is meeting its challenges

The BSDA said the industry is meeting its challenges

The president of the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) has said that the soft drinks industry needs to drive value to consumers, while continuing to fight obesity.

David Saint told the BSDA's annual lunch yesterday (24 September) that UK consumers “are still feeling the squeeze” despite the recent upturn in the economy. “To stay relevant to them, we've got too find new ways of delivering value and keeping costs down.” Saint said.

However, he added: “The wider world has demands too.

“(The government) wants us to support jobs and growth but they also want our support in addressing the public health agenda,” he said. “This doesn’t trouble us because we have the same ambitions ourselves.”

Saint said that drinks companies are increasingly adding no- and low-calorie products to their portfolios, and also reducing environmental impacts.

“There are challenges but they are challenges we are meeting head on,” he said. “We're making progress and we should continue to be clear about that with all of our critics.”

Also at the BSDA event, Gerber Emig CEO Andrew Biles told just-drinks that the arrival of Suntory's soft drinks unit on the UK scene is “a good thing” for the industry. This month, Suntory Food & Beverage agreed to buy Lucozade and Ribena for GBP1.35bn (US$2.11bn).