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UK Coke bottler eyes breakfast

NEW YORK — Get people to 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 sales 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 one-quarter of all drinks being consumed before 10 a.m.

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“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.

In a statement, the company said it was referring specifically to smoothies and juices in suggesting breakfast as an area for growth.

The optimistic report comes as soda consumption has been fading in developed countries such as the United States amid concerns they fuel weight gain. To combat criticism, Coca-Cola Co. began airing TV ads this year that explain what it’s doing to fight obesity.

Other ways to increase sales mentioned in the report 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. 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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