Soda Giants Pledge to Make Calorie Cuts in Their Drinks
Effort aimed at curbing U.S. obesity epidemic; health experts call it positive step to boost public health
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The top U.S. soda makers have agreed to help reduce Americans' consumption of calories from sugary beverages by one-fifth during the next decade -- by shrinking drink sizes and marketing healthier options.
The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo Americas Beverages, and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group all pledged to help fight the obesity crisis by steering consumers away from sugary drinks loaded with empty calories. The beverage companies crafted their new initiative in cooperation with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an anti-obesity group founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, and announced it Tuesday at the 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York City.
The soda giants said they would reduce beverage calories in the American diet 20 percent by 2025. They said they will do so by: (1) spotlighting diet drinks and bottled water in supermarkets by placing them at the end of aisles, in checkout displays, and on easy-to-reach store shelves; (2) cutting the amount of sugary soda sold in single cans and bottles, thus reducing portion sizes; (3) promoting calorie awareness on more than three million beverage company-controlled vending machines, self-serve fountains, and retail coolers in convenience stores, restaurants, and other locations; (4) introducing and expanding new lower-calorie products; and (5) providing coupons and other incentives that promote purchase of bottled water and diet drinks.
The American Heart Association issued a statement applauding the soda industry's commitment, and in particular the companies' agreement to place special focus on specific communities where there has been less access to healthier options. "Their pledge to reduce the visibility and consumption of full calorie sodas, while labeling calorie counts on vending, fountain, and retail equipment with a particular emphasis on helping communities in greatest need, is a positive step forward towards improving the public health," the group's statement said.