CCE has seen challenges in a number of its markets in Europe

CCE has seen challenges in a number of its markets in Europe

Coca-Cola Enterprises’ (CCE) head has said he sees “less risk” for the company than 18 months ago but there is still a “long way to go” as threats, such as new taxes, remain. 

Speaking at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) conference yesterday (20 February), John Brock said the group has experienced “prolonged” macroeconomic weakness in many of its markets. Earlier this month, CCE, Coca-Cola’s anchor bottler for Western Europe, reported a slight dip in full-year profits as volumes slipped

Brock told CAGNY delegates yesterday: “We continue to face the on-going impact of a dynamic and challenging macroeconomic environment and commodity costs, although improving, remain volatile.” 

He said the market was improving for CCE in the UK, but not in France. 

CCE’s boss also acknowledged the “evolving” tastes of consumers as health concerns around sugary CSDs have heightened. “We are continually working to meet and respond to these changing needs,” he said, flagging that 40% of its products are now low- or no-calorie. Brock said the group would be expanding its use of the artificial sweetner stevia. 

On taxes,  Brock added: “As always there’s the potential for new taxes on our products and packaging.” But he noted that aside from a new levy on energy drinks in France there is no definite plans for new measures that will affect the group’s products. 

On new developments around brands, he flagged plans for a sugar-free version of the Energy drink Relentless and a new "adult" sparkling fruit drink being released in France - Finley

CCE is currently undergoing a major restructuring programme, due to be completed by the end of next year

Coca-Cola Company boss Muhtar Kent is due to speak at the CAGNY conference later today (Friday).