Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper join forces for calorie reduction

The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo have come together in a new agreement to decrease beverage calories in the American diet. These beverage companies have set a goal to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20% by 2025.

This was announced the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment at the 2014 CGI Annual Meeting in New York City.   To help achieve this goal, the beverage companies will take a two-pronged approach:

First would be a nationwide initiative where the beverage companies will leverage their marketing and distribution strength to increase consumer interest in beverage options to help consumers reduce calories consumed.  Such beverage options include smaller portion sizes, water, and other no- or lower-calorie beverages.

Through these efforts, water and other lower-calorie beverages sales are also expected to grow significantly.

The companies will also engage in consumer education and outreach efforts to increase consumer awareness in the no- and lower-calorie beverages segments and educate consumers on the smaller portion sizes available.

Each beverage company will provide calorie counts, and promote calorie awareness on all beverage company-controlled point-of-sale equipment nationwide, including more than three million vending machines, self-serve fountain dispensers, and retail coolers in convenience stores, restaurants and other locations.

Next through a community wide engagement, each beverage company will focus efforts in communities where there has been less interest in or access to options that help consumers reduce their calories.

These companies have set a goal of achieving a 20% per person reduction of calories consumed from beverages in those communities within 10 years.  Beverage companies will promote consumption of their bottled water products. There will also be product placement at the end of the aisle and checkout displays featuring only reduced-calorie beverages.

Merchandising efforts such as repositioning reduced-calorie beverages on shelves; providing coupons and other incentives promoting lower-calorie options and taste tests/sampling programs in and out of store will also be deployed.

“This is the single-largest voluntary effort by an industry to help fight obesity and leverages our companies’ greatest strengths in marketing, innovation and distribution,” Susan K. Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association said.

“This initiative will help transform the beverage landscape in America. It takes our efforts to provide consumers with more choices, smaller portions and fewer calories to an ambitious new level.”

The beverage companies will retain an independent, third-party evaluator, in conjunction with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, to track progress and interim benchmarks toward their commitments.  The beverage industry and the Alliance will work jointly to define the reporting schedule for all aspects of this agreement.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is a national nonprofit working to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity.  The Alliance works with more than 120 companies to improve their individual and industry-wide business practices to more positively impact the nation’s youth.

In May 2006, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation worked with representatives of The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, PepsiCo and the American Beverage Association to establish the Alliance School Beverage Guidelines that limit portion sizes and reduce the number of beverage calories available to students during the school day.

This comes shortly after a number of major F&B brands pledged to tighten rules over marketing to children.

Read more about that here: Tighter rules set for unhealthy food marketing to children

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