CCE posted a volumes drop in CSDs last year

CCE posted a volumes drop in CSDs last year

Coca-Cola Enterprises aims to drive growth in its cola stable this year in all of its markets, with the launch of an advertising campaign encouraging consumers to drink “Coke with food”.

The campaign, in partnership with the Coca-Cola Co, will run throughout 2013, CCE head John Brock announced at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Florida yesterday (20 February). The company will also invest in the Diet Coke brand, which is celebrating its 30th birthday, while building on strong growth for the Coke Zero brand.

“We think all of those together give us confidence that you're going to see growth in our core Coke trademark brands in 2013,” Brock said.

It is the second time in two weeks that Brock has shown faith in the CSD category, which posted a 3.5% volumes drop year-on-year in CCE's full year results this month. In a conference call with analysts after the results were announced, Brock called sparkling beverages a “great category” that will return to growth this year. 

Last week, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said the company is working on new sweeteners and flavourings that could "alter the trajectory of the cola business".

Yesterday, Brock remained tight-lipped over CCE's potential acquisition of Coca-Cola's German bottling facilities, as an option on the deal nears its deadline. The option was part of Coca-Cola's takeover of CCE's operations in North America in 2010, giving CCE until May this year to take over the German operations. “There's nothing to talk about around Germany, or for that matter, around any other potential transaction,” Brock said. “When we have something to say about Germany or about any other possible transaction, we'll be the first ones to say it.”

Brock also side-stepped questions over the referral of the merger between AG Barr and Britvic to UK competition watchdogs. “We'll watch and see what happens,” he said.

The merger fell off the table this month after UK regulators raised competition concerns.