Sustain
The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London
E2 9DA

13 November 2018

Open letter: In response to Sugar Smart and Sustain regarding the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour

Thank you for your letter and taking the time to share your concerns with me.

I wanted to make you aware of the actions that we have taken as a business over the last few years.

  • Since 2005 we’ve launched 34 new drinks with low or no sugar – some recipes we’ve changed more than once which has reduced the sugar significantly.
  • Every single sparkling drink we sell has a sugar-free alternative available.
  • We have colour-coded labelling on all of our packs.
  • We are investing significantly in the advertising of our zero sugar drinks and we now sell more Coca-Cola without sugar than we do with sugar.
  • We don’t buy any advertising targeting children under 16.

You asked me specifically about the Coca-Cola Truck Tour and to not make regular Coca-Cola available on it.   I do not plan to do this.  This annual event is something that our consumers love and enjoy, and I feel we run it in a responsible way.

  • We expect 90% of the drinks we sample on the tour this year to be zero sugar (Diet Coke or Coca-Cola zero sugar) – the highest level ever.
  • Coca-Cola zero sugar is the product leading all of our marketing – it’s featured in our TV advert and on the side of the Coca-Cola Christmas truck.
  • We don’t sample our drinks to children under 12 – unless a parent is there to make that decision.
  • We will still make regular Coca-Cola available for people who wish to enjoy one – in a 150ml mini can.

The statistics you share are concerning reading for all of us. However, the fact is that all of the steps we, and other soft drinks manufacturers have taken mean that sugar consumption from soft drinks is now lower than at any time since 1992. 

  • Government data (DEFRA Family Food Survey) shows that sales of full sugar soft drinks fell by 46% between 2005 and 2015.    
  • The latest data from the National Diet & Nutrition Survey (2016) show that soft drinks now make up just 3% of daily calories for adults, 4% for teenagers and 2% for children.  

Despite this obesity rates have continued to rise.

I believe the actions we have taken as a business to remove sugar from our drinks and focus our marketing on the no sugar variants of Coca-Cola show we are committed to acting responsibly and playing our part in addressing some of the challenges you raise. For a few weeks per year thousands of consumers love and enjoy our Christmas truck tour and as long as consumers want it we will continue to run it.

Jon Woods
General Manager, Coca-Cola Great Britain and Ireland