Coca-Cola to shrink bottles and raise prices due to UK sugar tax

Fizzy drinks giant Coca-Cola is to launch smaller bottles at higher prices.

The 125-year-old purveyor of sugary beverages has opted to offset costs and reduce package sizes, rather than alter its famous secret recipe as the Government's sugar tax comes into force later this year.

Coca-Cola Classic contains 10.6g of sugar per 100ml.

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The changes will happen in March - just before the sugar tax arrives in April - and will see a 1.75 litre bottle shrink to 1.5 litres; the price will increase by 20p.

A 500ml bottle, meanwhile, will remain 500ml, but will shoot up in price from £1.09 to £1.25.

"We have no plans to change the recipe of Coca-Cola Classic, so it will be impacted by the government’s soft drinks tax," a Coca-Cola spokesman for the company's European arm said in a statement.

"People love the taste...and have told us not to change [it]."

The company added: "As is always the case, our customers will have to decide the retail prices in their outlets. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke, our no-sugar colas, are not impacted by the Government's soft drink tax".

Scotland is the only country where the most popular soft drink isn't Coca-Cola - the nation's favourite is Irn-Bru - and last week it was reported that Scots were ‘panic buying’ the cult drink ahead of its own recipe change this month.

The secret recipe of Scotland’s most popular soft drink will be significantly changed over the next few weeks for the first time in 117 years, its makers confirmed.

AG Barr said the sugar content of Irn-Bru would be cut by around 50 per cent “later this month”, prompting devotees of the drink to begin stockpiling cans in case the taste changes.

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The sugar tax, which was announced in 2016 by former chancellor George Osborne, is designed to tackle childhood obesity and improve the nation's health.

The policy means fizzy drinks manufacturers will be taxed at 18p per litre on drinks containing 5g of sugar or more per 100ml. Beverages with 8g of sugar or more per 100ml will see a 24p tax per litre.