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The Covid-19 outbreak has had a massive impact across all industries, drinks included, and will have knock-on effects for some time. Current signs suggest that the impact on businesses around the world might well be more permanent than many initially predicted.

In this issue we survey the impact on the drinks sector in our Covid briefing, as well as hear some expert advice on how SMEs can adjust to the changing landscape.

We also look at soft drinks, considering the effects of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy in the UK, and ask if full-sugar drinks could evolve into premium products in the future.

And with the news of The Coca-Cola Company and Pepsico both moving further into the ready-to-drink coffee arena this year, we make some predictions on what the future could hold. We also take a glance at coffee production in Saudi Arabia, and the efforts being made to protect traditional agricultural practices.

The dairy industry has long taken umbrage at plant-based products using the term ‘milk’ in their branding. Following a public letter earlier this year from politicians to the FDA on the matter, we look at the current situation in the US, and how the agency is handling the matter.

Now, for a moment; consider the wine bottle. We have seen packaging design evolve over the years, but the humble wine bottle has largely remained the same. However, in an industry that is more complicated than many would assume, there is one company trying to shake things up with a new take on the design, for a new age. We speak with the CEO of Garçon Wines about how they think the company can make a change for the better.

Sustainability’s status as the most important issue facing the drinks industry might be eclipsed by Covid-19 at present, but it should not be forgotten. We examine how drinks companies can connect with consumers on climate action following the WEF in Davos.

We also talk to the Refresco CEO about the company’s recent M&A activity, as well as their thoughts on some of the sustainability issues facing the drinks industry. And to round things up, we hear from Dassault Systèmes, and find out how software can aid sustainable material development in the CPG industry.

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In this issue

Are full-sugar soft drinks the new niche?

Has the sugar tax altered the playing field so much that full-sugar is now considered a niche selling point for soft drinks? Lucy Britner takes a closer look.

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Refresco CEO Hans Roelofs

Andy Morton speaks to Hans Roelofs, Refresco CEO for almost 13 years, about why we can expect more US M&A activity from the group. Roelofs also gives his inside take on the CCEP purchase and talks about plastic’s position as a priority for the soft drinks industry.

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Forget the Cola Wars, here comes the Coffee Clash

With The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo both set to launch new coffee themed ready-to-drink products in 2020, Andy Morton takes a look at whether we might be about to witness another clash of the drinks titans.

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Protecting tradition: Saudi Arabian coffee

Dr Saeed Khan, senior lecturer in Global Studies at Wayne State University, offers some context to the farming practices in the region and the efforts being made by the Saudi government to protect them.

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What’s in a name? The fight over milk

The argument over what can legally be sold using the name milk has been going back and forth for some years now. While European courts have been active on the subject, the US is yet to update federal legislature in response to the rise of dairy-alternatives. Peter Nilson takes a look at the current state of affairs across the pond.

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A new vintage: re-thinking the wine bottle

Compared to other drinks packaging, the wine bottle has arguably seen little evolution over the years. However, one company is looking to change that with a new design for a new age. Peter Nilson speaks to Garçon Wines CEO Santiago Navarro to find out more.

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How can drinks firms connect with consumers on climate action?

Following this year’s World Economic forum in Davos, Ben Cooper looks into the efforts drinks companies have been making to improve their impact on the environment, and why those efforts are vital to consumers.

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Close the loop: how Industry 4.0 is aiding sustainable material development

Environmental concerns are forcing the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry to radically rethink traditional working processes. Julian Turner talks to Jonathan Bailey of Dassault Systèmes about how the 3DEXPERIENCE software platform can help CPG packaging manufacturers improve sustainability.

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Coronavirus and SMEs: a survival plan

Food business entrepreneur John Stapleton, who built up and sold brands New Covent Garden Soup Co. and Little Dish, believes there are a number of steps SMEs can take to help them survive coronavirus.

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Next issue preview

In this edition we dipped our toes into the world of coffee, and in the next edition of just-drinks you can expect to see more coverage of the hot drinks sector as we look into how CBD is taking hold, as it is across so many other categories.

Alongside this we’ll also take a look at the key sustainability issues around the drinks industry, as well as an in-depth focus on the current trends in the spirits sector.

It seems remiss not to acknowledge that Covid-19 will have a huge ongoing impact on the drinks industry and there will undoubtedly be many new developments over the next few months.

You’ll be able to read the latest analysis and insight in the next edition, but until then, keep up to date with the latest news on our Covid-19 timeline.

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