Some of our frequent Sip & Savor readers may remember when ABA, along with America’s beverage companies, announced our Balance Calories initiative last September.  Partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, we committed to work toward an aggressive goal of reducing beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025.

As part of this endeavor the beverage companies also established a special community-level program that focuses on neighborhoods where interest in and access to lower and no-calorie beverage options falls below the national average.

We’re proud to say that work has begun on this initiative, and the participating communities are enthusiastically supporting it.

On Friday, ABA, leading beverage companies and the Alliance gathered at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA to announce that the Balance Calories Community Initiative is to begin in four Los Angeles-area communities: East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and El Sereno.

On Monday, they  gathered again – this time at the Edwards Food Giant in Little Rock, Ark. –  to announce the start of the community initiative in four Little Rock neighborhoods.

Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, explained that the start of the this effort to spur more interest in low- and no-calorie products is the beverage industry taking a leadership role in meaningful solutions to help reduce obesity.

“Our companies are going to work in a very focused, deliberate manner with these communities to create interest in beverage options that can help them cut their calories,” Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, said.

“This begins by offering more no- and low-calorie as well as smaller-portion choices, but also finding innovative ways to encourage consumers to try these products.  We are going to test and learn so we can truly transform the beverage landscape through solutions that work.”

Several elected and community leaders offered their support to this initiative and praised the industry for stepping up to do its part to address the challenge of obesity.  Our member companies will be working with the community to better understand the challenges in neighborhoods and to identify the best methods to help people achieve balance while preserving choice.  What works best can be applied elsewhere.

Check out this clip from KTHV News on the announcement in Little Rock.  For additional information on how our industry delivers, visit