US soda giants pledge to cut sales of sugary drinks


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American soda giants Tuesday promised to work to reduce US beverage calorie consumption by 20 percent by 2025 in a campaign to counter obesity trends.
Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr. Pepper Snapple pledged to provide smaller sized bottles, and more water and other low- or no-calorie beverages, to the market to help bring down per-person consumption of their high-sugar drinks.
They also agreed to better publicize calorie counts on vending machines, retail coolers and all drink-vending equipment controlled by the companies.
Appearing at an event organized by the Clinton Global Initiative, representatives from each signed off on a voluntary initiative to employ marketing and consumer outreach to prod consumers to drink fewer sugary drinks and promote calorie awareness.
"This is the single-largest voluntary effort by an industry to help fight obesity and leverages our companies' great strengths in marketing, innovation and distribution," said Susan Neely, chief executive of the American Beverage Association.
The goal is to cut calories from drinks by 20 percent per person within a decade.
The initiative comes as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and others struggle with flagging sales in their home market. Coca-Cola reported flat sales in North American in the most recent quarter.
Regulators in New York City, California and other venues have proposed measures to cut drink size or enhance labeling requirements.
The companies also said they would intensify awareness campaigns and promotion of healthier beverages in communities where there have been fewer non-soda options.
The soda companies will retain an independent evaluator to track progress, in conjunction with an advocacy group set up by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association.

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