Coca-Cola European Partners CEO Damian Gammell said the company worked with UK retailers ahead of the introduction of the sugar tax

Coca-Cola European Partners CEO Damian Gammell said the company worked with UK retailers ahead of the introduction of the sugar tax

The CEO of Coca-Cola European Partners has said the group must focus on the future, rather than bemoan the recent introduction of the sugar tax in the UK.

Speaking to analysts following yesterday's Q1 2018 results, Damian Gammell said CCEP has been working with customers in preparation for the tax. He said now that the sugar levy is in place, "we've got to look forward".

 The sugar tax, which affects soft drinks that contain more than 5g of sugar per 10cl, came into force in the country earlier this month.

"As you look specifically at GB," Gammell said yesterday, "what you'll see is the taxes being passed on by the retailers, as we expected. You're also seeing new pack formats in place. There hasn't been a dramatic change in the space in-store, so we still are quite pleased with the amount of space that we see for Coke Classic, for Coke Zero and for Diet Coke.

"It's now really what we're seeing from the consumers in terms of up-take. At the moment, it's too early to say, but it's going as well as we could have expected."

The CEO noted that the company has taken learnings from its other markets.

"We had a sugar tax increase at the beginning of 2017 in Portugal," Gammell noted. "We've come out of that very well - consumers have come back into the brands in the category. We're seeing similar dynamics in the Nordics."

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