Right before I got this gig, I worked for one of our sister publications here at BNP Media as the managing editor of Candy Industry Magazine. However many candy samples you think I got on a weekly basis, double that, and then triple that and then just imagine UPS boxes all over my living room overflowing with sweets.
In short, I ate a lot of sugar.
Look, I definitely believe that sugar is completely fine in moderation — who can resist the occasional Snicker’s? But the problem in America is that it’s basically impossible to eat it only in moderation. So I get a little excited when I hear about companies like Pepsi saying they plan to reduce the amount of sugar we’re consuming on a regular basis.
The company recently announced a slew of new initiatives, but the one that stood out to me is that they are pledging that “at least two-thirds of PepsiCo beverages [are] expected to contain 100 calories or fewer from added sugar per 12-oz serving by 2025, with increased focus on zero- and lower-calorie products.”
There’s no doubt in mind that this is one of those things we can say, “Thanks Obama” for — although it’s probably not the Obama you’re thinking of. First Lady Michelle has made it her mission to make the world a little healthier, and it was her push to get an “added sugars” label included on nutritional labels that likely spurred Pepsi’s decision on this.
For its part, Pepsi says it was “informed by the latest dietary guidelines of the World Health Organization and other authorities,” when it made the choice to make its products healthier. And it’s not just reducing sugar — the company also is planning to reduce saturated fat and sodium levels in its product portfolio.
It’s important to note that the company isn’t promising to reduce the sugar in all of its products, and the classic Pepsi soda will likely continue to have lots of added sugar for the immediate future.
But admitting you have a problem is the first step in solving it. So Pepsi saying publicly that it knows there’s too much sugar in many of its drinks is a big deal. Now I just hope others in the industry will follow the soda company’s lead.