Coca-Cola Enterprises' U.K. growth plan: breakfast

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NEW YORK Get people to drink swap tea or coffee for soft drinks with breakfast -- that's one of the strategies Coca-Cola's main bottler in Europe is targeting to boost soft drink consumption in the United Kingdom.

Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. issued a report last week that identifies a variety of ways it can increase sales over the next five years in the region. One category entitled "Complete the Meal" notes that breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day, with about a quarter of all drinks being consumed before 10 a.m.

"How do we motivate people to make soft drinks, like smoothies, juices and other on-the-go products, part of their morning ritual in the same way as tea or coffee?" the report asks.

The optimistic report comes as soda consumption has been fading in developed countries such as the U.S. amid concerns they fuel weight gain. To combat criticism, Coca-Cola Co. (KO) began airing TV ads this year that explain what it's doing to fight obesity. The Atlanta-based company and rival PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) are also working on making better-tasting diet sodas that use natural sweeteners.

The "See the Opportunity" report issued by Coca-Cola Enterprises also notes that there are no soft drinks in the United Kingdom designed as "relaxation" drinks, as there are in Japan and the U.S. Without specifying any brands, it notes that drinks containing melatonin are expected to exceed 300 million liters of consumption in the U.S. by 2014.

Other ways to increase sales include making soft drinks a pick-me-up at work or providing the right range of packages at the right prices for teens at places such as the movies, the report says. It also notes that the "Daytime At Home" category is largely untapped for the soda industry, with tap water and hot drinks being the most common beverages at home.

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