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Coca-Cola gets a healthy makeover

The Coca-Cola Company announced yesterday that they’ll make four global commitments to combat obesity: offer low- or no- calorie drinks; print nutrition information and calorie count on the front of the packages; initiate physical programmes in markets where Coca-Cola is for sale; and take out advertising for children under 12.

“Obesity is today’s most challenging health issue, affecting nearly every family and community across the globe. It is a global societal problem which will take all of us working together and doing our part,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Company.

“We are committed to being part of the solution, working closely with partners from business, government and civil society.”

Though the company didn’t elaborate further on when these commitments will take place, Coca-Cola currently offers smaller portions in mini cans in United States, Australia, Canada, Korea and Thailand, for example.

In Hong Kong, specifically, the beverage company sponsored a rope skipping contest in 2011 and 2012; and in early 2011, it already put energy labels in the front of the package.

“The new ‘Front-of-Pack Energy Labelling’ is particularly useful to shoppers cruising store aisles, or grabbing a beverage at a convenience store, who need to make fast and smart purchasing decisions and have little time to read the back-of-pack label,” said Sylvia Lam, chair of the Hong Kong Dietitians Association.

Coca-Cola Company’s announcement comes a week after the brand was nominated the most popular FMCG brand around the world by Kantar Worldpanel. It boasts a penetration rate of 43.9% of households around the world, of which 7% are belong to homes in emerging markets – where the beverage has been trying to gain market share.

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