CCEs research claims it helps add GBP2.4bn to the UK economy

CCE's research claims it helps add GBP2.4bn to the UK economy

The head of the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) has highlighted to the UK Government the economic benefits that the industry brings to the country.

The call, which came as Coca-Cola Enterprises announced a fresh GBP52m (US$87m) operational investment in the UK, also follows new World Health Organisation guidelines yesterday advising people to halve the amount of sugar in their diets. Health groups have criticised soft drinks as containing too much sugar and contributing to rising global levels of obesity.

“The industry faces questions over some aspects of what it produces and the Government is right to push us to respond to that challenge," said BDSA director general Gavin Partington today (6 February). "But, it is also right that governments should remember the economic contribution we make, particular at a time when we are looking to drive the economy.”

Partington was speaking at a presentation by Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) that claimed the Coca-Cola system adds GBP2.4bn (US$4bn) to the UK economy every year. Citing new CCE-funded research, the bottler, which mainly operates in Western Europe, said that every GBP1 of value the Coca-Cola system creates in the UK supports an additional GBP8.

CCE also said that this year it will spend GBP52m on investments such as combined heat and power systems and a new production line at its Wakefield site in northern England. The move brings CCE's total operations investment in the UK since 2011 to GBP227m.

Meanwhile, the author of the CCE research said soft drinks companies are integral to the economies of their host countries. Professor Ethan Kapstein, from Steward Redqueen Consulting, said: “Coca-Cola has very deep relationships with local suppliers, going from sugar beet suppliers to glass manufactures. It's a very integrated web.”

The WHO yesterday reaffirmed its advice that sugar should account for no more than 10% of the calories in people's diets. However, in a new move, the organisation suggested 5% should be the target.