We are proud to be working with President Clinton and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to reduce beverage calories consumed per person by 20 percent by 2025. Announced as a Commitment to Action last week at the 10th Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, this is the single-largest voluntary effort by an industry to help fight obesity and it will transform the beverage landscape in America.
This effort will not be easy. The goal of reducing beverage calories consumed per person nationally can’t be achieved without aggressive steps from the beverage companies. To be successful, The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and PepsiCo will leverage their marketing, innovation and distribution strengths to promote smaller-portion sizes, water, and no- and lower-calorie beverage options.
The calorie trends of the last few years are impossible to sustain without taking these significant steps. That is because bottled water is not growing as fast as prior years and lower calorie beverages are declining. So there are strong headwinds stalling future calorie reduction that we must overcome.
To meet the challenge, beverage companies are focusing resources on a new effort to create access to and interest in the choices that can help consumers reduce calories, including within communities that need additional support.
Important to this effort will be our national calorie awareness program, which will add calorie counts and promote calorie awareness on 3 million vending machines, self-serve fountain dispensers and retail coolers. Going beyond what has been discussed by regulators, the companies also will provide a “nudge” to consider calorie information when making a choice.
All of this means that we will be encouraging Americans to balance all of their calories – including those from beverages – with their daily physical activity. This agreement takes to an ambitious new level our leadership in providing consumers with more choices, smaller portions and fewer calories.
And we’ve shown we can do this. We previously collaborated with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to deliver a meaningful change in schools across the country. As a result, an independent analysis confirmed that we drove a 90 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools between 2004 and the end of the 2009-2010 school year. We have also been actively engaged in First Lady Michele Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative since its launch, putting calorie labels on the front of every can, bottle and pack we produce, and more recently as active participants in the Drink Up campaign.
The beverage industry’s actions speak loudly – and they show that we are willing and able partners committed to accomplishing significant and meaningful results in an efficient and effective manner.