Belfast Telegraph

Irn Bru to cut staff as consumers snub sugary drinks

By Ben Woods

Irn Bru maker AG Barr has announced plans to slash some 90 jobs as it grapples with a shift in taste towards low-sugar drinks.

The company said total revenues fell 4% to £125.6m for the six months ending in July as customers reacted to the “significant weight of negative media coverage” towards soft drinks with added sugar.

AG Barr, which also owns Rubicon, Strathmore and Funkin, said the Government’s sugar tax — set to come into force in April 2018 — was “a punitive and unnecessary distortion to competition in the UK market”.

It added that efforts by the company and by the wider drinks industry to reduce the amount of sugar in soft drinks would make the controversial levy an “unnecessary measure” when it comes into force.

The comments came as the Cumbernauld-based company said that it would axe around 90 positions — or approximately 10% of its workforce — as part of a restructure linked to its Fit for the Future business improvement strategy.

It said the overhaul would cost about £4m to enforce and would  impact its commercial, supply chain and central operations.

Chief executive Roger White said the firm had delivered a strong first-half performance despite facing a challenging trading environment and poor weather.

Belfast Telegraph