It’s old truism that when there’s a problem, some look to assign blame and others look to find solutions. The beverage industry knows this firsthand. While the United States struggles with rising obesity rates, some look to blame sugar-sweetened beverages even though they account for only about 6 percent of calories in the average American’s diet. Even so, the beverage industry has worked hard to be part of meaningful solutions.
As summer winds down and we start to think about a new academic year it is a good time to consider the significant actions the beverage industry has made to changing the school beverage landscape. Through their School Beverage Guidelines, America's beverage companies successfully removed full-calorie sodas from schools nationwide, replacing them with more lower-calorie and smaller-portion options. In fact, these guidelines formed the foundation for the beverage component of USDA’s federal school regulations. And the industry didn’t stop in schools. Their latest commitment is to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025. This is the single largest voluntary effort by any industry to help fight obesity.
So while some activists are driving their own agenda to tax, ban and restrict beverages, our industry is working hard to help consumers strike the right balance in their choices – whatever it may be.