Big beverage companies pledge to help reduce calorie consumption from sugary drinks

The three soda giants, Coke, Pepsi, and Dr Pepper, have said that they will work on reducing the number of calories that Americans consume from beverages, by 20 percent, over the next 10 years, by focusing on smaller sizes, diet drinks, and bottled water.

The three big beverage companies announced their plan at the Clinton Global Initiative, which took place in New York City.

America is facing an obesity problem and there are major concerns that large soda producers are to blame because of the very sugary drinks that they market and sell in massive amounts.

There has been increasing pressure on these companies because of growing public health concerns. However, The American Beverage Association (ABA) has spent millions over the past few years to prevent increased taxes and other methods of reducing the consumption of sugary drinks.

The ABA has expressed its disapproval of these government measure, although has said that there needs to be more awareness about the choices people make and the need to balance an increased calorie intake with more physical activity.

Essentially the industry group has expressed its disapproval of such aggressive government measures (such as tax impositions), however, is on board with more direct efforts to tackle the problem by the companies themselves and through improving the education of consumers concerning calories in sugary drinks.

ABA also said that companies will be providing calorie information at points of sale, such as vending machines.

Susan Neely, chief executive of the American Beverage Association, said:

“We’ll use the most critical levers we have at our disposal, and the focus really will be on transforming the beverage landscape in the U.S. over the next 10 years,”

Mr. Clinton said that he was a bit concerned that the companies would stick with the commitment:

“I was pretty candid when we were talking about it. I told them, if I were you, I’d be thinking about it like this: You want these kids to be your consumers when they grow into adults, but if a significant number of them develop diabetes and heart disease when they’re older, their disposable income is going to be taken up with health care and medical bills.”