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Frucor Suntory CEO looks to the future

Frucor Suntory CEO Jonathan Moss says consumers are thinking differently about beverages, and shifting away from the traditional Carbonated Soft Drink category.

The company formerly known as Frucor Australia, which announced a name change earlier this week, has indicated no new plans to export Australian brands, however a domestic NPD launch is being kept up its sleeve for later in the year.

Speaking with C&I Week today, Frucor Suntory CEO Jonathan Moss explained the name change was made to reflect the strength of the partnership with Frucor’s parent company.

“We’ve been part of the Suntory Group since 2009 when Danone divested and Suntory acquired us. I think it was a natural evolution for us,” Mr Moss said.

“Our name is really catching up with the way that we’ve evolved in our relationship with Suntory. So it’s quite a natural process.

“It’s about really wanting the name to reflect our combined strengths. Suntory brings global scale, ability to invest, global research capability, and a real global presence. And Frucor being local, with local brands and local leaders, and the agility to act fast: I think it was natural to combine both and become Frucor Suntory.”

Mr Moss said the name change was not accompanied by any new plans to expand Frucor’s brands abroad.

“That doesn’t signal a change in that way: we’re very focused on Australasia,” he said.

State of the market

Looking at market trends in the beverage industry, Mr Moss said he perceived the overall market to be quite stable, but deeper analysis showed some changing patterns of demand.

“What we’re seeing is that total overall beverage consumption is quite stable, but we’re certainly seeing a macro trend as people, on a long term basis, shift away from carbonated soft drinks to other categories,” he said.

“The other categories tend to be less sugar, or functional products [like energy drinks].

“In the less sugar space, we’ve got a whole bunch of examples to show we’re more active in that space, like OH, OVI, Sparkling OH, V Zero.

“In functional, we’re again seeing growth as people come away from CSDs, so we’re doing things like Maximus Sport, Maximus Protein, and we’re doing a very big launch of V Pure later this year.”

Mr Moss said that the upcoming NPD ‘V Pure’ will target consumers seeking an all-natural alternative to the original beverage.

“V Pure is our natural representation of the V Energy product: It has all natural ingredients,” he said.

The launch of V Pure is expected to come in Q4 this year.

Commitment to sugar reduction

This week the company also made a commitment to ensure that by 2030, one in three Frucor Suntory beverages would be sugar-reduced, or sugar-free products.

“The commitment that we made this week, when we gathered 1000 of our team together in Auckland, was to be really clear about what we stand for in the future,” Mr Moss said.

“It’s a really important commitment that we’re making, because it’s going to shape the way we think about how we make our products, and reshape the way we think about our future entirely.

“Our Sparkling OH product, which is big in the convenience channel, is sweetened with stevia, the natural sweetener. So that’s a successful product for us, and it’s an example of a completely natural sweetener system. It tastes fantastic, and it’s very low in calories.

“Consumers are thinking about beverages in different ways, and sweetener systems are a part of that, and there’s no doubt that what people want in the future is going to keep evolving, and we need to meet those needs.”

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