America’s leading beverage companies have pledged to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025.
“I am excited about the potential of this voluntary commitment by the beverage industry. It can be a critical step in our ongoing fight against obesity,” said former President Bill Clinton, who announced the goal as part of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment at the CGI annual meeting in New York.
The Clinton Foundation, along with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation which is founded by the American Heart Association, worked with representatives from the American Beverage Association, The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo to form the landmark agreement to decrease beverage calories in the American diet.
Using a two-pronged approach, beverage companies will work on a national initiative to leverage their marketing, innovation and distribution strength to maintain customer interest and promote access to lower-calorie beverages. They also will institute a community initiative, with each company committed to focus its efforts in communities where there is less interest or access to options that help reduce calories.
“Our work with beverage companies to reduce by 90 percent the number of calories shipped to schools demonstrates the power of creative cooperation,” Clinton said. “We look forward to continuing to work together to achieve the goals outlined in this commitment.”
Through the national approach, companies say they will provide calorie counts and promote calorie awareness on all beverage company-controlled point-of-sale equipment nationwide. As a result, the companies expect an increase in the sale of water and lower-calorie beverages.
“This is the single largest voluntary effort by an industry to help fight obesity, and it leverages our companies’ greatest strengths in marketing, innovation and distribution,” says Susan Neely, president and CEO of the ABA. “This initiative will help transform the beverage landscape in America.”
Neely adds the association’s efforts will be committed toward giving consumers more choices as well as smaller portions and options with fewer calories.
Beverage companies say they will retain an independent third-party evaluation to track progress toward their commitments.
Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, says regular sodas and fruit drinks comprise 6 percent of an average American’s daily calorie intake.
“Reducing the number of calories consumed from beverages in the US is imperative to helping curb obesity,” Wechsler says. “We commend the beverage industry for making this strong commitment to reducing the number of beverage calories consumed per person by 20 percent.”