2010 UK Soft Drink Conference
I was in London today attending the 2010 Zenith International Soft Drink Conference…..basically a gathering of the great, the good and the glittering of the Soft Drink industry. It was a packed agenda of great speakers, discussing the issues and emerging trends within the industry.
There were keynote speeches from the two giants within Soft Drinks – Pepsi and Coca-Cola – who gave really stimulating presentations about how they were moving to address issues such as health and environment. Both were taking differing approaches, but neither are resting on their laurels and are positively addressing big big issues with relish and energy.
It was interesting to see that both Garrett Quigley [Pepsi] and Simon Baldry [Coca-Cola] are ex-Mars……so like myself have moved from the world of chocolate to the world of soft drinks! I worked with Garrett just over 10 years ago when we were Account Directors in the Food Division at Mars….he’s very bright, a natural leader and an overall nice -nice guy – it was great to see him again!
There was a big discussion on Energy Drinks with presentations by several brands in this area. I must admit I am one of the 2/3rds of the UK populations who had never tried them….something that I remedied today at the Conference! Zenith International had securred a speaker from ‘Slow Cow’ of Canada – they are pioneering a new category of ‘relaxing drinks’…a kind of opposite to Energy drinks, designed to ‘chill you out’ and make you concentrate.
Being an entrepreneur can be a bit stressful at times [especially if you are juggling being an entrepreneur with being a mum to two under 5’s at the same time!], so a couple of cans of ‘Slow Cow’ could come in useful!
The final section was all about Innovation – from smaller niche players such as Cawston Press and Fever-Tree. Throughout the day there were some great observations about shopper behaviour, about the impact of the recession on shopper choice, on consumer trends and market forecasts.
It was an interesting and stimulating day and I took away loads – plus the opportunity to network and meet experts and larger players in the soft drinks market was just great……especially as I am just setting off on the path of establishing Breckland Orchard! And of course, being a Soft Drink Conference, I didn’t go short of hydration!