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Coca-Cola HBC is to roll out Costa Coffee vending machines to offices, retail outlets and public places as part of plans for the coffee chain acquired by The Coca-Cola Co earlier this year.

Costa Coffee products will be in ten CCHBC markets by next year

Costa Coffee products will be in ten CCHBC markets by next year

The Eastern and Central European bottler, which announced last month that it will distribute Costa products in ten of its markets by next year, said vending machines will be an integral part of its expansion plans. Commenting last week on Costa's "state-of-the-art" vending units, CCHBC chief executive Zoran Bogdanovic told just-drinks: "We see [the machines] being placed in various office environments, even retail, possibly public places where we are looking for partner operators that have hotspots where these machines will play a role."

'Costa Express' units are already situated in offices in other Costa markets, including the UK. Costa already has a presence in eight CCHBC markets and Poland has Costa Express vending machines.

Bogdanovic declined to give further details on the roll-out plan but said more will be revealed within the next two quarters. He praised the potential of the Costa partnership, highlighting that the value of the coffee category in CCHBC markets is "almost close to the whole non-alcoholic RTD category".

The Costa partnership means a change in coffee strategy for CCHBC, which currently has a distribution deal with Italian coffee producer Luigi Lavazza in five of its markets - Romania, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Greece and Hungary. CCHBC will end the collaboration with Lavazza by 31 October.

Last month, PepsiCo confirmed the launch of a new coffee RTD launch in the UK through a partnership with Lavazza.

The CCHBC markets earmarked for Costa sales include Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia and Switzerland. Costa already has stores in eight CCHBC markets: Poland, Ireland, Czech Republic, Russia, Hungary, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Latvia.

Bogdanovic was speaking after the release of CCHBC's results from the first half of 2019, when organic sales were up 3%.

In a call with analysts after the results, Bogdanovic warned it was "too early to speculate" on what effect a recently-announced sugar tax in Romania could have on beverage sales. However, he downplayed any potential effect, saying CCHBC has tools to mitigate declines. "Very often in these types of situations, we see with all the actions that we do that this can only be a very short-term impact. In Ireland, ever since the introduction of the sugar tax, because of all the actions that were done, we have been achieving a quite solid growth rate."

According to AFP, Romania rolled out a sugar tax last week.

Will this be the year Coca-Cola Co's coffee project goes mainstream? - Click here for a just-drinks comment


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