The United States three largest soda manufacturers, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the Dr Pepper Snapple, have entered into a pact to cut calories in sugary drinks by a fifth. in an effort to reduce the obesity burden in the United States. They will expand their product portfolio of low or no-calorie drinks and also reduce serving size. Calorie counts and awareness about obesity will also be part of their outlets where beverages are sold. Former President Bill Clinton’s tenth annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York was the venue for the announcement.
“This is huge,” said former President Bill Clinton. “I’ve heard it could mean a couple of pounds of weight lost each year in some cases.” Sugar has been linked to several health problems besides obesity. The American Heart Association has linked it with cardiac health trouble and other chronic ailments such as diabetes. Health researchers have recommended replacing sugar with an extract of honey, which is good for the body. Other research has also pointed to the addictive qualities of sugar.
The beverage companies will roll out their new product portfolio and initiative over the next 10 years, along with a new marketing strategy. Vending machines, coolers in grocery stores, fountain soda dispensers in restaurants and theaters, and over-the-counter sales and promotions will see changes in product mix.
“This initiative will help transform the beverage landscape in America,” said Susan K. Neely, president of the American Beverage Association. “It takes our efforts to provide consumers with more choices, smaller portions and fewer calories to an ambitious new level.”