Coca-Cola’s refillable trial could inspire change in plastic bottle habits, says GlobalData

20 November 2017

Coca-Cola’s refillable trial could inspire change in plastic bottle habits, says GlobalData

Coca-Cola’s recently introduced micro-chipped bottle trial in the UK could pave the way for a shift in plastic bottle usage habits among a significant cohort of consumers, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

This innovative new trial has seen Coca-Cola European Partners install its popular Freestyle fountain dispensing machines on campus at the University of Reading. Rather than purchasing their drinks in the usual disposable plastic bottles, staff and students are able to pre-pay for a set number of refills, which are then dispensed into a microchipped refillable bottle linked to their account.

With over a quarter of Brits (27%) surveyed by GlobalData claiming to be at least somewhat influenced by environmental or ethical factors when purchasing soft drinks, initiatives like this are sure to appeal.

Melanie Felgate, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Climate change and the environmental burden of plastic waste have become major global issues, with beverage manufacturers and coffee chains under growing pressure to reduce the number of plastic bottles and paper cups going to landfill. Recent figures predicted global consumption of plastic bottles will exceed a staggering half a trillion per year by 2021.

”Although such schemes rely on behavioural change – people must remember to carry their reusable bottle with them – the recent success of the plastic carrier bag levy in UK supermarkets proves that consumers are willing and able to adjust. Indeed, Tesco has reportedly handed out 1.5 billion fewer plastic carrier bags since the five pence charge was introduced in 2015.”

In addition to being environmentally friendly the Freestyle machines provide access to over 100 customizable still and sparkling drinks from the Coca-Cola portfolio, including a wide range of low sugar options and brand new flavours.

Felgate added: “Environmental benefits aside, the ability to offer a much wider range of options than there is room to stock on supermarket shelves is sure to prove popular with the 44% of British consumers who enjoy experimenting with new and unusual soft drink flavours, according to GlobalData’s Q1 2017 consumer survey.”

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