Large companies and organizations have a habit of making important announcements at the Clinton Global Initiative. This year is no exception. The soda industry agreed to cut calories consumed per person some 20% by 2025. Major companies in the industry have been under pressure to produce “healthier” drinks, so they may have had little choice. They might as well make the decision a noble one, at least to the public.
A press release about the plan laid out which companies would participate:
American Beverage Association, The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo Work Together to Reduce Beverage Calories Consumed Per Person Nationally by 20% by 2025.
Also, to some extent how the decision was made:
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and Clinton Foundation, has worked with representatives from American Beverage Association, The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo to announce a new landmark agreement to decrease beverage calories in the American diet.
The American Beverage Association added its spin on the plan:
Nationally, the beverage companies will:
- Leverage their marketing, innovation and distribution strengths to increase and sustain consumer interest in and access to smaller portion sizes, water and no- and lower-calorie beverages.
- Provide calorie counts, and promote calorie awareness on all beverage company-controlled point-of-sale equipment nationwide.
The fact of the matter is that a 12-oz. Coke only has 140 calories. It is the sugar content, as much as anything else, that damages health. In fact, by most measures, all of these calories are from sugar, so the overall 20% reduction might have some long-term benefit. At least, a Coke does not have any fat in it.
According to Harvard, the soda companies may be doing the population a favor:
Over the course of the 15-year study, participants who took in 25% or more of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets included less than 10% added sugar. Overall, the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet — and that was true regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index (a measure of weight).
Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) and PepsiCo Inc. (NYSE: PEP) made the decision under some duress, but at least, for the sake of a large portion of the population, they made it nevertheless.