Britvic upgrades Leeds bottling plant as it launches healthier lifestyle campaign

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Soft drinks company Britvic has revamped its bottling plant in Leeds as it launches a new sustainability programme aimed at encouraging healthier lifestyles.

Britvic launched its A Healthier Everyday programme – a bid to encourage consumers to live healthier lifestyles, put more back into communities and do more environmentally.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Clive Hooper, UK supply chain director at Britvic, said the programme is “firmly embedded” in the company’s business strategy. He added that this builds on its existing sustainability strategy.

Mr Hooper said: “In Leeds we’ve invested in two new state-of-the-art bottling lines. Why is this important from a sustainability point of view? It’s important because these new lines run much more efficiently from an electricity point of view.”

The investment in Leeds has helped the soft drinks giant take 300 tonnes of plastic bottle packaging out of its UK supply chain over the last year.

Mr Hooper added: “The other thing that we’ve done is we’ve put a new onsite warehouse in Leeds. It’s important because in the past we didn’t have enough space to store all the products we were making in Leeds in the city.

“As a result we were having to ship a lot of that product down to the Midlands and sometimes bring it back up. Now with the new warehouse we have enough space to store in Leeds and deliver it locally to our customers.”

The sugar tax is a major talking point in the soft drinks industry at the moment. The tax is due to come in later this year.

However, Britvic, which has taken out 20 billion calories from its portfolio of drinks through sugar reduction, says it is well placed ahead of the levy coming into force. Mr Hooper said: “We’ve taken all added sugar out of our Fruit Shoot brands. We’ve significantly reduced sugar in all of our other brands and therefore when the sugar tax comes in in April, we’re in a really good place as a business. We’ve already done the work.”

Leeds is a major part of Britvic’s operations in the UK. The firm employs 209 staff in the city.

“This year it will be our second biggest site in terms of volume out,” Mr Hooper said.

He added: “We’ve spent a lot of money on the site. It is now full from the point of view of space for new production lines and it’s got a very positive future.”

Energy drinks have also been making headlines recently with campaigners calling for a ban on their sale to younger people.

Britvic said that from next month iy will no longer produce any traditional energy drinks in the UK. Instead the soft drinks giant said it will focus on its more natural caffeine-free energy drink Purdey’s.