latamen
Coca-Cola cuts 3.75 billion in calories from drinks

Coca-Cola cuts 3.75 billion in calories from drinks

14-03-2017 | Stunning statistics

In this new series we look at stunning statistics from the world of sustainability. What do they mean? What is the impact for investors? Today: Coca-Cola is ditching its fully sugared Sprite range in the Dutch market.

  • Carola van Lamoen
    Carola
    van Lamoen
    Head of Active Ownership

We all like to count the calories - so how about removing 3.75 billion of them from a drinks portfolio? It’s a welcome part of a wider trend, say Robeco’s trends investing and engagement heads.

What has happened?

Coca-Cola in March 2017 decided to stop selling the fully sugared Sprite brand in the Netherlands amid the campaign to reduce sugar content of soft drinks. Low and no-sugar Sprite will remain on sale.

The notion that ‘sugar is the new tobacco’ due to its adverse effects on health has promoted the move, driven partly by the health-conscious reputation of a Dutch public that is increasingly ditching unhealthy habits.

And it has produced numbers as large as the waistlines that excessive sugar consumption can cause. Removing the full sugar Sprite from Coca-Cola’s Dutch portfolio of brands removes 3.75 billion calories from the shelves at a stroke – equivalent to more than 4,000 years’ worth of the normal daily calorie intake of the average person.

Stay informed on Sustainable Investing with monthly mail updates
Stay informed on Sustainable Investing with monthly mail updates
Subscribe

How will it work?

If the withdrawal of traditional Sprite is seen as a success in the Netherlands, it could also be dropped in 100 other countries, Coca-Cola’s country manager Richard Schlasberg told the Financieele Dagblad newspaper.

Coca-Cola markets 18 brands of its soft drinks in the Netherlands, and one-third of the income at its bottling plant at Dongen in the south of the country is now derived from zero or low calorie drinks.

The wider trend is that consumption of soft drinks by the average Dutch person fell to 91.5 liters per head in 2015 from 102.6 liters each in 2011 – still an average of a quarter-of-a-liter per day. Coca-Cola’s latest move is part of a plan to cut the overall calorific content by 15% across the range.

What does it mean for investors?

Robeco in February published a white paper, entitled ‘What’s bad: sugar or fat’ examining the challenges facing the food and drinks industry. “Our increased sugar consumption has led to an obesity epidemic, which is increasing the prevalence of diabetes, heart attacks and choked arteries,” says Henk Grootveld, Head of Trends Investing at Robeco.

“We expect the food and beverages industry to be faced with declines in the volume of demand for their sugary products as consumers start looking for healthier alternatives.”

And talking to the industry is one of the engagement themes for Robeco’s Active Ownership team for 2017. “For this new theme we are focusing on identifying the measurable impact of sugar on people’s health,” says Carola van Lamoen, Head of Active Ownership.

“In our dialogue with food and beverage companies we will focus on product reformulation to reduce use of sugar and develop a healthier product range and how they prioritize their marketing budget towards the low-sugar transition.”

Stunning statistics
Stunning statistics

Every month we look at stunning statistics from the world of sustainability. What do they mean? What is the impact for investors?

Read all articles

Important information

The Robeco Capital Growth Funds have not been registered under the United States Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, nor or the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended. None of the shares may be offered or sold, directly or indirectly in the United States or to any U.S. Person (within the meaning of Regulation S promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”)). Furthermore, Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. (Robeco) does not provide investment advisory services, or hold itself out as providing investment advisory services, in the United States or to any U.S. Person (within the meaning of Regulation S promulgated under the Securities Act).

This website is intended for use only by non-U.S. Persons outside of the United States (within the meaning of Regulation S promulgated under the Securities Act who are professional investors, or professional fiduciaries representing such non-U.S. Person investors. By clicking “I Agree” on our website disclaimer and accessing the information on this website, including any subdomain thereof, you are certifying and agreeing to the following: (i) you have read, understood and agree to this disclaimer, (ii) you have informed yourself of any applicable legal restrictions and represent that by accessing the information contained on this website, you are not in violation of, and will not be causing Robeco or any of its affiliated entities or issuers to violate, any applicable laws and, as a result, you are legally authorized to access such information on behalf of yourself and any underlying investment advisory client, (iii) you understand and acknowledge that certain information presented herein relates to securities that have not been registered under the Securities Act, and may be offered or sold only outside the United States and only to, or for the account or benefit of, non-U.S. Persons (within the meaning of Regulation S under the Securities Act), (iv) you are, or are a discretionary investment adviser representing, a non-U.S. Person (within the meaning of Regulation S under the Securities Act) located outside of the United States and (v) you are, or are a discretionary investment adviser representing, a professional non-retail investor. Access to this website has been limited so that it shall not constitute directed selling efforts (as defined in Regulation S under the Securities Act) in the United States and so that it shall not be deemed to constitute Robeco holding itself out generally to the public in the U.S. as an investment adviser. Nothing contained herein constitutes an offer to sell securities or solicitation of an offer to purchase any securities in any jurisdiction. We reserve the right to deny access to any visitor, including, but not limited to, those visitors with IP addresses residing in the United States.

This website has been carefully prepared by Robeco. The information contained in this publication is based upon sources of information believed to be reliable. Robeco is not answerable for the accuracy or completeness of the facts, opinions, expectations and results referred to therein. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this website, we do not accept any responsibility for damage of any kind resulting from incorrect or incomplete information. This website is subject to change without notice. The value of the investments may fluctuate. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If the currency in which the past performance is displayed differs from the currency of the country in which you reside, then you should be aware that due to exchange rate fluctuations the performance shown may increase or decrease if converted into your local currency. For investment professional use only. Not for use by the general public.

I Disagree