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6 February 2023

The challenges facing Cola manufacturers

Posted in Sustainability

The main trends facing Cola manufacturers are still dominated by health, packaging and environment, specifically reducing sugar content, plastic usage and waste and cutting CO2 emissions along with making further strides towards a circular economy.


Cola brands are well aware and heavily incentivised to reformulate to remove sugar from their drink recipes and replace with artificial or natural flavours and sweeteners. This has also been driven by shifting consumer trends towards sugar-free options and government intervention with sugar taxes. Of course, there are reformulation obstacles to overcome when switching to new sweetener types, particularly Stevia. This can include excessive filling line foaming, gushing on opening and decanting drinks experienced by consumers and many alternative sweeteners have a lingering and unpleasant after taste.

Manufacturers and bottlers who use CO2Sustain have seen reduced fobbing during filling even at high temperatures and lines typically run 15% faster with some bottlers reporting increases as high as 25%.

For the consumer the gushing experience on pouring/decanting is noticeably less and consumers have also reported that diet/low sugar Colas don’t have the same unpleasant after taste when CO2Sustain has been added.

Packaging challenges

When we talk about packaging, we primarily mean plastic PET bottles.

The effects of plastic pollution are well documented and undoubtedly the major Cola manufacturers and bottlers have action plans to transition to rPET and even bottles made completely from plant-based material.

Just stopping using plastic and moving to glass or cans isn’t necessarily the right move either, whilst these are more recyclable, there are other environmental considerations in the manufacturing process that can negate the benefits.

Lightweighting has been a focus and CSD PET bottles have gotten much lighter since they were first introduced in the 1950s. Lightweighting itself is not straightforward, and as the PET element of packaging is the most expensive of the whole-end product lightweighting by even 2gms can offer significant financial savings.

CO2Sustain as a patented specialty ingredient that operates in the drink liquid and retains carbonation upon opening, pouring, consuming enables CSD companies to offset the potential negative consequences of lighter preforms.


Cola manufacturers are already working on a range of sustainability initiatives including the reduction of CO2 emissions, wastewater, energy consumption, transportation and, as we’ve already mentioned, packaging with a focus on plastic, harmful farming practice, sugar consumption and air and water pollution. Manufacturers also acknowledge that their market share is at risk as more and more consumers want to see visible progress on sustainability.

The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) recently said “ Sustainability is a key issue for the soft drinks industry. Innovations in packaging, efficiencies in transport and savings in energy and water use in the production of soft drinks have enabled us to reduce our environmental impact, but we want to go further.”

CO2Sustain is well placed to play our part in helping Cola manufacturers go further by assisting them with:

  • Lightweighting PET
  • Extend carbonation shelf-life
  • Saving energy in filling
  • Boosting filling efficiency

You can find out more by downloading our brochure ‘The Planet is better with more Fizz’ We always love hearing from our industry friends so if you have any questions please give us a call on +44 (0)113 205 0971 or email

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