Coca-Cola transitions to 100% rPET bottles in UK as PepsiCo Europe commits to slash 25% sugar levels in sodas

EUROPE – American beverage manufacturing giant is taking sustainability in beverage manufacturing a notch higher by transitioning to 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) bottles in all on-the-go bottles in Great Britain. 

According to a statement from the company, the transition involves all 500ml or less plastic bottles and covers the company’s entire portfolio of brands. 

With the transition, Coca-Cola brands in the Great Britain including Coca-Cola Original Taste, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Lilt will all be packaged in rPET bottles.  

The achievement sees Coca-Cola Great Britain up the amount of recycled plastic material used in on-the-go bottles from its 50% milestone to 100%.  

Coca-cola reports that the shift to 100% rPET bottles follows in the footsteps of other markets including Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.   

According to the company, the first 100% rPET bottles will start appearing on UK shelves in September and will continue to be recyclable. 

Coca-Cola projects that its use of recycled plastics in the region now saves 29,000 tonnes of virgin plastic each year.  

To further augment its fight against plastic waste, the soft drinks giant has revealed that it is completing the transition from plastic shrink wrap to cardboard packaging across all multipacks. 

“Increasing the amount of recycled plastic, we use is a critical point in our sustainable packaging journey and reaching 100% rPET puts us one step closer to achieving our ambition of a world without waste – collecting and recycling a bottle or can for everyone that we sell by 2025,” said Stephen Moorhouse, general manager at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Great Britain. 

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners is the new name that was established following the completion of Coca-Cola European Partners’ takeover of Coca-Cola Amatil in May. 

PepsiCo Europe pledges to cut sugar levels in sodas 

Still in Europe, Coca-cola competitor PepsiCo has pledged to cut beverage sugar levels by 25% across markets in Europe by 2025. 

PepsiCo seeks to reduce the average level of added sugars across its entire soft drinks range – including Pepsi-Cola, Lipton Ice Tea and 7Up – by 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, compared to a 2019 baseline. 

Meanwhile, the firm also intends to increase the sales of snacks rated a B or better in the Nutri-Score nutrition labelling system by more than ten times by 2025. 

As part of its push, PepsiCo Europe says this will make healthier snacks its fastest-growing food category over the next four years, with an aim to expand it to a US$1 billion portfolio by 2030. 

This goal will be achieved through reformulating existing products and introducing existing low-fat brands such as Lay’s Oven Baked to more markets, as well as new snacking ranges – following in the footsteps of PopWorks, the company’s new popped corn crisps range. 

The announcement comes amid increasing scrutiny over the nutrition of global consumer goods companies’ products and follows a document by Nestlé revealing that more than 60% of its mainstream food and drinks portfolio does not meet a “recognised definition of health”.   

“Consumers want healthier and more sustainable brands, and they want products that taste great. Over the past decade, we’ve reformulated and launched new products to bring more options to consumers,” said Silviu Popovici, CEO of PepsiCo Europe.  

PepsiCo’s commitments build on previous achievements over the past decade including past reductions of added sugar in beverages and saturated fat in foods and smaller portion sizes. 

The food and beverage major has also succeeded in creating alternatives of existing brands with improved nutritional profiles including sugar-free PepsiCo Max and 7Up Free. 

“Almost one in three beverages we sell is sugar-free and we believe this trend will continue to grow over time. With this pledge, we can use our experience with sugar reduction to accelerate our shift to a healthier snacks portfolio,” Popovici added.

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