Well, it’s Halloween, so it should be no surprise that Kelly Brownell is up to his old tricks in twisting and turning the facts like a Twizzler when it comes to the beverage industry’s strong commitment – and real deliverables – on marketing to children.
Today’s Rudd Center report on our member companies’ marketing practices is yet another attack by known critics in an ongoing attempt to single out one product as the cause of obesity. Both common sense and widely accepted science show that the reality behind the serious health issues like obesity is far more complex than the picture painted by the Rudd Center.
The fact is that our member companies abide by responsible marketing policies, and, as an industry, we have developed a number of our own initiatives to be a part of the solution to childhood obesity. Our member companies do not advertise beverages other than juice, water or milk-based drinks to any audience that is comprised predominantly of children under 12 across a wide range of marketing outlets – like television, radio, print, Internet, phone messaging and cinema, including product placement.
Research has found that there has been a dramatic change in food and beverage advertising during children's programming. According to recent report from Georgetown Economic Services, advertisements for soft drinks decreased by 96 percent between 2004 and 2010.
The report from the Rudd Center is a blatant attempt to undermine a responsible industry’s products and practices at the unfortunate expense of America’s youth - who would be better served with comprehensive studies and programs as part of a broader effort to combat childhood obesity.
These are the facts. And we know the facts can be scary to Mr. Brownell and the Rudd Center because the truth often hurts.
It’s a shame that once again, the Rudd Center proves that it can be counted on more for its tricks rather than treating the complex issue of obesity with the truth and meaningful solutions it deserves.
Furthermore, our own initiatives such as national School Beverage Guidelines have drastically reduced beverage calories shipped to schools by 88 percent since 2004. Our Clear on Calories labeling commitment makes it easier for consumers to make informed choices about the beverages that are best for themselves and their families by putting calorie information on the front of our packaging.
America’s non-alcoholic beverage industry continues to deliver on our commitment to responsible marketing, voluntary school beverage guidelines and clear labeling.
For additional information, please read our full response to the report.