Consumer choices shape support from CCEP

Gary Black (pictured), associate director – national and key accounts at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), suggests ways wholesalers can boost their soft drinks sales.

cce_gary_black_forwebHow are you looking to strengthen your partnerships with cash & carry/delivered wholesalers?

We are fully committed to the wholesale channel and to providing customers with pack formats and variants that will help to grow their sales. We work collaboratively with wholesalers, providing tailored plans for each customer environment, from independents to licensed clients as well as foodservice.

As the convenience channel has grown so has our team of experts that regularly call upon depots and also the retailers, publicans and foodservice operators that shop with them. We continue to invest heavily in our sales team to allow them to help customers unlock the best opportunities for sales growth. This relationship enables us to communicate to retailers the importance of choice, stocking best-selling brands that are backed by marketing investment, and achieving the optimum balance of immediate and future consumption products.

Of our 1,000-strong field sales force, we have nearly 800 focusing on convenience missions, which leads to a positive knock-on effect for wholesale clients.

Are there any cash & carries/delivered wholesalers you wish to highlight as being particularly progressive?

For any progressive wholesaler, a keen focus on the growing importance of online platforms is essential. Reflecting this, digital technology is an ongoing area of development for CCEP. At the heart of this is in-depth research into understanding what retailers want from wholesaler websites, including navigation, search functions, promotions, product imagery and descriptions, as well as mobile optimisation.

Online makes ordering more convenient for retailers but also enables wholesalers to react instantly to retailers’ shopping behaviour by analysing data. We’re keen to work in partnership with our wholesale customers to achieve best practice and drive mutual growth.

Do cash & carries fall short in any aspects of the selling of soft drinks??

Many retailers are now benefiting from ‘meal deal’ or multibuy-type offers. Wholesalers, in turn, can benefit from the popularity of these offers by highlighting their sales potential with cross-category displays in depot. There’s also scope in highlighting different formats for different occasions, such as glass icon Coca-Cola Zero Sugar bottles for formal occasions like dinner parties. Themed displays ahead of celebrations like Halloween and Christmas, big TV events or important sporting occasions can also help to increase sales.

Similarly, how can delivered wholesalers improve their soft drinks sales?

Consumers are demanding choice, and it’s important for wholesalers to showcase that they offer a wide selection of soft drinks that can help retailers deliver a range that meets this demand. Consumers are increasingly health conscious. As a result of our focus on offering healthier drinks, 39% of all products we sell in GB are now lower or no calorie. Value for money also plays a big part in consumers’ shopping decisions and wholesalers can make the most of this by providing price-marked packs.

What is your opinion on the forthcoming tax on sugary soft drinks?

We agree with the Government that obesity rates are too high, but we do not believe a tax on only some soft drinks with sugar will reduce them. We have made our objections to the tax clear and are supporting the work of the ‘Face the Facts, Can the Tax’ campaign to highlight the unintended consequences of the tax for a range of British businesses and consumers.
By reformulating 28 of our drinks since 2005, giving consumers even clearer nutritional information on our packs and investing more in marketing our no-sugar options, we have contributed to a 16% drop in sugar consumption from soft drinks in the last four years alone.

Can you share any news relating to product launches or promotions?

We will continue to over-invest in Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in the wholesale channel, offering multiple promotional offers across 1.75-litre PET bottles, 500ml PETs and 330ml cans, including a 49p 330ml PMP can. For Monster Energy, the Ultra White variant is now available in a £1.19 PMP 500ml can, while for glacéau smartwater, a 850ml sports cap bottle was recently added to the range.

Tel: Coca-Cola European Partners (01733) 828000

Published Date: September 26, 2016
Category: Meet the Manufacturer