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From today, 75 % of the electricity used to make Britvic soft drinks in Great Britain – from Fruit Shoot to Tango, Robinsons to J2O – is coming from a 160-acre solar farm in Northamptonshire.

Providing clean energy to factories in Rugby, London and Leeds, the ten-year solar power agreement covers three quarters of Britvic’s electricity needs in this country – with the aim of reaching 100 % solar powered operations in the near future.

The solar site, commissioned in January 2024 and operational from today, will generate 33 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy, enough to power the equivalent 11,500 homes. This could cut as much as 1,113 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the drink manufacturer’s supply chain each year – the equivalent of planting 260,000 trees.

Working with renewables provider Atrato Onsite Energy, the 650,000 square metre solar installation, will scale up to produce 28 MWp. This initiative is part of Britvic’s long-term commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Sarah Webster, Britvic’s Director of Sustainable Business, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to ensure that the some of the country’s most recognisable and much-loved soft drinks are powered by renewable energy.

“We know consumers want to buy more sustainable products, and this is another step towards reducing carbon emissions and our long-term sustainability targets.”

The project makes use of a former quarry site that is unsuitable for farming, with double-sided solar panels that use tracking devices to follow the sun, increasing efficiency by 10 %. The site will provide opportunities for allowing nature to flourish – a rewilding approach that will increase biodiversity.

The announcement is the latest milestone in Britvic’s Healthier People, Healthier Planet sustainability strategy. Last year Britvic signed an agreement to produce Ballygowan Mineral Water using 100 % renewable electricity from wind energy. The company also launched an £8 million project to improve energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions by 50 % at its Beckton site.

Gurpreet Gujral, Managing Director, renewable energy at Atrato Group said: “We are thrilled to complete this landmark and unique agreement with Britvic, reducing carbon emissions while delivering attractively priced energy. Our business model is all about designing unique structures for clients tailored to their energy consumption needs and real estate site constraints, while delivering on sustainability targets and lower energy costs.”

Chris Bowden, Managing Director of Squeaky Clean Energy, said: “Having pioneered the use of corporate power purchase agreements in the UK it has become abundantly clear that new and innovative contracting structures are needed to accelerate the transition to clean energy. The Squeaky team is incredibly proud to have scored another clean energy first with a unique power purchase agreement arrangement that enables Atrato to de-risk the financing of its project and Britvic to deliver on its Healthier People, Healthier Planet sustainability mission.”

About the data, originally provided by Britvic: Carbon dioxide reduction is calculated based on the CarbonFund’s assessment that a single kWh is responsible for 0.3712 kg of carbon dioxide.

This October, Fruit Shoot singles across its core range are making the move to 100 % rPET (recycled plastic) and clear bottles*.

The update is another step on Britvic’s journey to reaching its ambition that all bottles produced and sold in Great Britain will be made from 100 % rPET by the end of 2022. The product will also undergo a recipe refresh and packaging redesign for the first time in three years. Alongside its new clear bottle, Fruit Shoot will now be preservative free following a reformulation.

Britvic: Fruit Shoot bottles move to 100 % recycled clear plastic alongside new recipe and design
Fruit Shoot Apple and Blackcurrant (Photo: Britvic)

As the number one kids soft drinks brand[1], Fruit Shoot is supporting operators to meet the ever-changing needs and considerations of consumers. Sustainability is not only a growing concern, but is also now a factor in their decision-making. A study revealed that 95 % of parents hold brands responsible for addressing their sustainability concerns[2], with a further 71 % claiming they’ve become more concerned about sustainability since becoming a parent[3]. However, it isn’t just parents that are increasingly conscious of their impact on the environment, but also their children – as 95 % of kids say the environment needs protecting[4].

Adam Russell, director of foodservice & licensed at Britvic, comments: “One in four kids juice and juice drink occasions took place outside the home in 2019[5], and as restrictions have eased and families are back on the move, this is only set to increase further with kids drinking while out and about. As the number one kids soft drinks brand[6], Fruit Shoot already has strong brand awareness, but this latest update to the use of 100 % rPET bottles will also demonstrate its packaging sustainability credentials to parents. This is particularly important, as research we recently commissioned revealed that the majority of Brits (80 %) think it is important that manufactures and brands use recycled plastic[7].”

As part of wider consumer research, Britvic found the transition to a clear bottle had several impacts on parents’ perceptions – eight out of 10 parents said they would trust Fruit Shoot more and almost three quarters said it showed Fruit Shoot was more natural than they thought[8]. Made with real fruit, no added sugar, artificial colours, flavourings or preservatives, Fruit Shoot offers parents peace of mind when it comes to the health of their children.

The packaging update will include hand drawn elements added to each bottle, to bring it to life and add an element of fun. As a result, they will be eye-catching in outlets, driving appeal and purchase – particularly for those who are conscious about the contents of the products they purchase.

To drive awareness of the switch to 100 % rPET bottles, Fruit Shoot will be visible across outdoor and digital platforms early next year, demonstrating the new clear bottles with the messaging, ‘New CLEAR bottle, just as fruity!’.

*Across Fruit Shoot single and multipack bottles, excluding caps and labels.
[1] NielsenIQ, Total Coverage, Value and Volume MAT to 24.07.21 & CGA Foodservice and Licensed Value and Volume MAT to 30.06.21 – Total Fruit Shoot, Kids Soft Drinks Category (Britvic defined)
[2] Kantar Mumsnet Sustainability Study, May 2020
[3] Kantar Mumsnet Sustainability Study, May 2020
[4] https://www.moms.com/gen-alpha-cares-more-study/ Hotwire 1000 kids aged 5-7.  95% children say the environment needs to be protected.
[5] Britvic’s Kidscope Research, 2019
[6] NielsenIQ, Total Coverage, Value and Volume MAT to 24.07.21 & CGA Foodservice and Licensed Value and Volume MAT to 30.06.21 – Total Fruit Shoot, Kids Soft Drinks Category (Britvic defined)
[7] OnePoll research, 2,000 UK adults, Recycling Lifetime Survey, commissioned by Britvic, August 2021
[8] MMR, Clear Bottle quantitative study, May-June 2020.

  • Britvic acquires Plenish, plant-based drinks business
  • Portfolio comprises plant-based milks, cold-pressed juices and functional shots
  • The transaction strengthens Britvic’s offer in the high-growth plant-based milks and organic juice categories

Britvic announces the acquisition of Plenish, the plant-based milks, cold-pressed juices and shots company, and one of the most exciting brands in its category in Great Britain. Plenish joins Britvic’s portfolio of market-leading brands and strengthens the Group’s offering in the fast-growing plant-based segment.

Founded in 2012, Plenish offers a range of plant-based milks and plant-powered juice drinks all made from the highest quality, organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. The products are carried by major national grocery retailers. Plenish’s sales are further boosted by highly effective marketing and a sophisticated direct-to-consumer sales offer.

Kara Rosen set up Plenish in 2012 after looking for alternative solutions to deal with a recurring health issue. A native New Yorker, Kara moved to the UK and soon realised that there were no cold-pressed juices in the British market free of sugar. Kara decided to make her own juices and nut milks using mainly green vegetables from organic origin. Since then, Plenish has become one of the fastest growing plant-based milks brand in the UK, while its juice-led direct-to-consumer business continues to grow at over 100+ % pa. The transaction is closely aligned with Britvic’s strategy of building a portfolio of soft-drinks brands for every consumer occasion and its focus on accessing new spaces in the soft drinks category. Britvic has a long track record of successfully leveraging its scale and capabilities to grow its brands, and it will draw on this experience to fulfil the full potential of Plenish.

Britvic recognises the opportunity presented by the fast-growing plant-based drinks segment, with plant-based milks set to achieve retail sales values of over £500m by 2024. The non-soya plant-based milks market has grown more than tenfold over the past decade and it is fast becoming a mainstream category, with consumers favouring healthier, plant-based products over dairy.

The transaction also serves to strengthen Britvic’s Healthier People, Healthier Planet sustainability agenda. The Group is committed to ensuring its products help consumers enjoy life’s everyday moments, as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Healthy nutrition is at the core of Plenish’s brand with a range of products containing the highest quality natural ingredients with low calories, that are certified organic by the Soil Association. As an accredited B-Corporation and a certified carbon negative business, Plenish’s approach to environment will contribute positively to Britvic’s Healthier Planet commitments.

  • Sales of UK manufactured fruit and vegetable juice surge 17 % year-on-year while beer sales fall 16 %
  • Food industry remains the largest UK manufacturing sector, contributing £71.8bn in sales overall
  • Sales of UK manufactured goods hit a record £390.1 billion, up 2 % year-on-year

The manufacture of fruit and vegetable juice was the fastest growing sub sector in the UK food industry, growing 17 % from £654 million in 2017 to £768 million in 2018 – according to analysis of the latest ONS PRODCOM data by Santander1.

Research2 shows that more than half of people aged 16 to 24 consume juice drinks at least once a day. Consumption of smoothies has seen the biggest increase among all fruit juice drinks with Brits spending £112 million alone on these last year alone3.

Sales of UK manufactured beer have meanwhile hit their lowest level in a decade at £3.1 billion – down from £3.7 billion the year before – as young people increasingly turn to alcohol free alternatives. Beer sales reached their peak in 2009, when Brits consumed £4.8 billion in beer.

Food and drink remained the largest UK manufacturing sector in 2018, reporting sales of £71.8 billion – a 3 % increase on 2017. Overall UK manufacturing sales hit a record high of £390.1 billion in 2018 – an increase of £9.4 billion (2.5 %) from the previous year.

Andrew Williams, Head of Food & Drink Sector, Santander UK, said: “Food and drink manufacturing is vital to the health of the economy and the UK is widely seen as a global leader in product innovation. The last decade has seen the food and drink industry shaken up with huge shifts in consumer buying habits – from growing interest in veganism to juice and smoothie diets. Manufacturers are having to respond quicker than ever to develop new products to meet customer demand – a pattern which is likely to continue as Brits explore the latest food fads.”

Ice cream was the second fastest growing food manufacturing sub sector, increasing 14 % from £383 million to £437 million in manufacturing sales value. An unusually hot summer and a shake-up of manufacturers’ product offering, including allergy-friendly and low-calorie options, boosted sales across the UK. The rise of consumers adopting a plant-based diet saw sales of vegan ice cream jump by 26 %.

Despite the surge in sales of fruit and vegetable and ice cream, British staples of cheese (£7.8 billion), bread, cakes and pastries (£6 billion) and processed meat (£7.9 billion) held their place as the foods with the highest sales in the UK overall. UK manufacturing remains the ninth biggest in the world, contributing over 45 % of all UK exports.

Santander has a dedicated team working with a range of food and manufacturers – from coffee experts to Cornish sea salt producers – to help establish trade links with international buyers. As part of helping manufacturers grow their businesses, the team of experts regularly organise international delegations for businesses to meet potential buyers and suppliers in countries around the world. Last year the team took 64 businesses on trade missions to 10 countries, with a further 40 businesses being linked up with partners around the world through inward ‘meet the buyer’ events and virtual meetings.

1 Santander analysis of the ONS PRODCOM data tables published on 1st July showing manufacturing sales by industry and industry sub-sector for full year 2018. Santander analysed the data to find the fastest growing sectors. 
2 Kantar survey of 1,233 respondents, March 2019.
https://drlkaenwvxlk9.cloudfront.net/Uploads/b/t/b/10charts_juicessmoothies_digitalpdf_487400.pdf
3 The Grocer report on juices and smoothies, 23 February 2019.
https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/category-reports/super-juice-juices-and-smoothies-category-report-2019/590446.article

Coca-Cola European Partners unveiled its new GB sustainable packaging strategy – setting out an ambition for its GB business unit to work with local and national partners to recover all its packaging so that more is recycled and none ends up as litter.

At present, only 70 % of the cans1 and 57 %2 of the plastic bottles used each year are recycled, CCEP believes these figures should be higher. Through its new GB sustainable packaging strategy, the company sets out the key actions it will take, and the areas where it will look to work with others, to improve the recovery and recycling of drinks packaging, and to reduce littering in Great Britain.

The new strategy is focused on three key areas:

  1. Continuing to innovate to ensure its packaging is as sustainable as possible
    CCEP has built a strong track record of lightweighting, ensuring all its cans and bottles are 100 % recyclable, and using recycled materials. It now wants to build on its work, with plans to double the amount of recycled plastic in every one of its PET bottles over the next three years – from the current average of 25 % to 50 % by 2020. To achieve this ambitious target it will continue its long term partnership with Clean Tech, which operates Europe’s largest and most advanced plastic bottle reprocessing facility in Lincolnshire, supporting the circular economy in Great Britain and allowing recycled bottles to return to shop shelves as part of new packs in as little as six weeks.
  2. Investing in consumer communication to promote recycling and encourage behaviour change
    As part of the new strategy, Coca-Cola will use the power of its brands to inspire more consumers to recycle. Later this month, the company will launch a multi-million pound communications campaign designed to inspire more people to recycle. At the heart of the campaign is an advert called Love Story, which will break on TV at the end of July and run across TV, cinema and digital channels. The advert features two love struck plastic bottles who are parted and then reunited as they are disposed of properly, recovered and then recycled into new bottles. The campaign will reach 35 million Britons by the end of this year. The company will also be putting a new recycling message on bottles this year and promoting recycling to six million people at festivals and events.
  3. Championing reform of the UK recycling system to ensure more packaging is recovered and recycled
    The company will continue to work in partnership with others – including the Governments of Great Britain – to improve the current packaging recycling system. To support the growth of the circular economy in Great Britain, the company will champion well-designed new interventions that have the potential to increase packaging collection and recycling rates, including stronger recycling targets, deposit return schemes and extended producer responsibility.

In addition, as part of its commitment to support DEFRA’s new working group on voluntary and economic incentives to reduce littering, CCEP will seek to advance its own knowledge of how consumers are motivate by an incentive-based scheme by testing an on-the-go bottle collection and reward programme. This test will examine the behavioural impact of reward schemes and help inform any future national approaches to reducing litter and increasing collection and recycling rates. More details on these trials will be announced later this year.

1 70 per cent of cans recycled – Alupro.org.uk
2 57 per cent of plastic bottles recycled – Recoup UK Household Plastics Collection Survey 2016