Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group have resolved to reduce the number of “beverage calories” consumers drink by 20 percent by 2025. The announcement was made during the Clinton Global Initiative, and the actions they plan to take include “selling smaller portion sizes and increasing promotion of products such as bottled water.” The size of a regular can of soda will remain 12 ounces and the calorie count will stay at 150.
“The companies jointly pledged to provide calorie counts and promote calorie awareness on the vending machines, fountain dispensers and retail coolers that they control nationwide,” reports USA Today. And the CEO of the American Beverage Association Susan Neeley is crowing how huge this is and how it’s going to fight obesity.
But actually this is kind of a preemptive strike, before legislators jump in with their own version of what calorie reduction and beverage taxes should look like. Also, sales of soft drinks have been declining anyway, so it’s not really such a huge sacrifice if you take a closer look.
“Sales of non-diet soda have fallen by 15% since 1998 and, more recently, sales of diet soft drinks also have begun to decline,” USAT continued. “These declines have nudged the beverage makers to begin to produce other kinds of lower calorie products and more water options.”
So this was a business move in the works that appears to have been re-fashioned into a social responsibility announcement. No bueno beverage companies.
Coke has seen a resurgence thanks to its recent marketing campaign that created personalized Coke bottles that were popular with younger customers. Coke sales are up more than two percent in the months post-launch, says The Wall Street Journal. But that campaign is about to end.
So with both business and consumer pressures mounting, the companies made this announcement at a very visible conference that’s all about good works.
“Consumption trends are moving in this direction already, so they might be promising something that will happen no matter what they do,” Kelly Brownell, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, tells USAT.