As the taxman clamps down on sugar, the soft drinks industry is making some winning moves in NPD. So can it avoid defeat?

Focus On Soft Drinks

No one joins HMRC to make friends.And you’d expect the taxman to have lost a few last week when he began levying as much as 24p for every litre of sugary pop sold in Britain.He certainly has some vocal opponents.Take Leendert den Hollander, MD of Coca Cola European Partners. Although he has been careful to avoid criticising George Osborne’s lo y aim – to protect his “children’s generation” from sugary drinks – he was one of the many to cast aspersions on the need for a tax.

What we dispute is the evidence that it works,” he said the day after the levy’s announcement in March 2016 (see the full interview on The Grocer’s YouTube channel).“If the aim is to reduce signinificantly and sustainably the number of calories people are taking in on a daily basis, there’s no proof in the world this is an effctive measure.”

From his words alone, you would expect the industry to be seething now the levy has finnally come into force. But the backlash isn’t as violent as you might think. Although the taxman may never be the toast of the town (apart from perhaps with Jamie Oliver), many in soft drinks are surprisingly upbeat…