Coca-Cola takes its responsibilities to customers and consumers very seriously. As a leader in the non-alcoholic beverage industry, the company has chosen to be proactive in promoting lower or no sugar options for its consumers in a bid to help in the fight against New Zealand’s rising obesity rates. While sugar in moderation is fine, too much sugar isn’t good for anyone. So, Coca-Cola has been hard at work actioning and demonstrating its commitment to helping Kiwis consume less sugar.

Data gathered by the company, from credible third parties like the Ministry of Health and Nielsen Research has shown that only 1.6 percent of an average adult’s daily energy comes from soft drink and there has been strong growth in sales of low and no-kj soft drinks. One of the key facts from various findings is that water is still the most consumed drink in NZ.

Earlier this year the FiZZ Symposium advocated for a ban of soft drinks by 2025 and, at the very least, introduce taxes to encourage Kiwis to drink fewer soft drinks. However, the industry is already seeing Kiwis consuming fewer sugar sweetened drinks each year. Despite this, obesity rates in New Zealand continue to climb.

Coca-Cola had the opportunity to contribute to the conversation at the symposium and reiterated the fact that sugar sweetened drinks are not the sole cause of the obesity problem and focusing on one particular food or drink is not the silver bullet that will reverse the growing obesity rate.

Coca-Cola started the no and low-sugar campaign 35 years ago with the introduction of Diet Coke and it continues to do so with the launch of Coke No Sugar this year, for example. All of its top sellers today offer a no sugar alternative and one third of sales are either low or no sugar varieties. This has risen by 13 percent in the past year and is expected to continue to grow with Kiwis making more informed choices about how much sugar they’re consuming.

Coca-Cola’s portfolio in New Zealand includes more than 120 products and 21 brands, including water, organic juice, iced tea, sports drinks, coconut water and grab-and-go coffee.

Innovation is always top of mind and an integral part of the company’s DNA. And its recipe innovation is not just limited to new products and cola. The team is always looking at, and developing, its current recipes across the portfolio to actively reduce sugar where it can.

Coca-Cola recently held a lunch event in Auckland where guests were invited to taste a wide variety of products within the portfolio that were matched to dishes created by The Longroom’s chefs. This experience drew attention to the fact that it doesn’t just have to be alcoholic pairings with food and that diners in both restaurants and cafes could experience food and beverage matchings including juice, milk, coffee, water, and carbonated beverages. It also provided an opportunity for chefs and operators to develop their non-alcoholic beverage knowledge and offering and how they can bring out the best in their own food menu items.

Providing consumers with information and options for their lifestyle also allows them to make informed and positive decisions without limiting choice or penalising those who choose to enjoy a treat.