- Sector: Food & Drink
- Region: Wales
A family-run soft drinks business in mid-Wales, Radnor Hills has been operating for more than 25 years. Using water from the family farm, the company sells both premium Welsh spring water and a growing range of soft drinks, producing around 250 million bottles a year. A key area of recent growth has been the trend for lower-calorie drinks, partly as a result of changes to school food regulations, but also changing lifestyles in the wider population.
“One of the biggest opportunities for us has been the requirement for much lower-calorie and healthier soft drinks for students to consume at school,” says William Watkins, Managing Director. “The challenge for us has been to do this while retaining a great-tasting product. We have seen an increasing demand for healthier-style drinks in general that contain less sugar and we have developed a lot of products within this category.”
Radnor Hills expects more innovation in this area, as the industry faces up to challenges such as the ‘sugar tax’ introduced in the UK in April 2018, following which drinks with more than 5% sugar content will incur an additional levy.
“The sugar tax has created a considerable amount of reformulation,” says William. “I believe many drinks being produced and launched in the future will look to sit underneath the threshold of the sugar tax levy. We will be looking to develop new products that fit within this sector.”
Another pressure it has had to deal with is the fall in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote, which has led to increased costs. But, the company has sought to tackle this head on.
“We have looked to automate our processes and be one of the best when it comes to production efficiencies,” says William. “We have invested in the most up-to-date techniques in terms of production so we can drive down our cost base. That has mitigated some of the increasing costs that have been brought about by the devaluation of sterling.”