Page 26 - Food&Drink magazine November-December 2022
P. 26

                BY ASSOCIATION
A sector standing up
As the non-alcoholic drinks industry readies itself for the busiest trading period of the year, Australian Beverages Council Limited CEO Geoff Parker reflects on the industry’s achievements in a time of great disruption.
THE drinks industry has not been alone in weathering the metaphoric headwinds of an unprecedented time of fluctuation, disruption, adaptation and resilience imposed by natural disasters and a global pandemic.
Coupled with the seismic adjustments needed to most operating models, consumers’ behaviour is also changing, with greater scrutiny about what they consume. Purchasing today is driven not just on price, choice, or value, but for greater nutrition and sustainability credentials as well. Australians are increasingly wanting to enjoy drinks that are good for them and good for the planet.
As consumers shift, brands shift with them, and in turn, so do the trade associations that need to be in lock-step with their members, ensuring the entire industry can continue to meet the needs of stakeholders well beyond the checkout.
Through this ecosystem of influence and insights, industry is able to listen and respond as a collective and develop responsible propositions that address core areas of importance for consumers.
This year the drinks industry re-launched its Sugar Reduction Pledge, expanding its scope to a 25 per cent reduction by 2025. It
continues to be the nation’s only voluntary commitment to reduce sugar across portfolios.
The success of the pledge and initiatives by the signatories to reduce sugar has resulted in a more than 16 per cent decrease in sugar across portfolios.
This significant achievement corroborates other independent research that shows there has been a monumental portfolio renovation underway in this market for well over two decades, with Australians now buying more no/low sugar varieties than regular options.
The drinks industry is the only sector in Australia that funds world-class extended producer responsibility through the popular container deposit schemes (CDS) and by 2023, the whole nation will be covered by a scheme.
These critical recycling and recovery assets are driving circularity of packaging like no other sector.
It has also just launched its Environmental Sustainability Roadmap to 2030 (ESR30) – a multi-decade strategy designed to extend the industry’s producer responsibility beyond the container to a whole of manufacturing and supply chain approach.
Developed in response to the growing call from consumers
and retailers to understand brands’ sustainability
credentials, this sector-leading
initiative will ensure every drinks company, large or small, can quantify,
improve, and communicate their
environmental sustainability
credentials. This will enable the
industry to participate comprehensively in helping the sector and national economy be more sustainable.
The ESR30 is truly transformative and like the Sugar Reduction Pledge, is the nation’s only sector-wide commitment driving change.
These and a host of other initiatives come together under the industry’s DrinkFacts campaign, launched in October. A culmination of 18-months research found that consumers want accessible, factual information to help them make their own informed choices about the role of drinks in their daily diet.
DrinkFacts delivers this online and through social media, providing data and analysis – and references if they want to read further – across health and wellness, sustainability and environment, and marketing and advertising.
Consumer engagement has been impressive with more than 3500 comments and shares on the first day, and a sustained viewing in the thousands each day since.
As with the Pledge and ESR30, DrinkFacts is the only industry-wide commitment to consumers to support informed choice and will continue to adapt to meet their needs.
The non-alcoholic drinks sector in Australia employs 46,000 people and generates more than $7 billion per annum of value to our economy.
It is a dynamic sector listening to consumers and constantly developing new ways to meet those demands while caring for the environmental impact of its operations and products on the planet. The industry will continue to step up to meet these challenges. ✷
 “ The success of the pledge and initiatives by the signatories to reduce sugar has resulted in a more than 16 per cent decrease in sugar across portfolios.”
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