Just about this time last year, in support of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let’s Move!" campaign, we proudly announced that America's leading beverage companies had come together to voluntarily make the calories in their products even more clear and consumer-friendly by putting calorie information at consumers’ fingertips-on the front of every can, bottle and pack as well as on company-controlled vending machines and fountain equipment.
Many of you already have spotted the new labels. More of you will in the coming days, weeks and months. We hope you’ll tweet us a picture of the labels when you spot them and share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.
The new labeling initiative, which will be completed in 2012, drew immediate kudos. First Lady Michelle Obama, who launched her "Let’s Move!" campaign the same day, saluted our initiative in her remarks. "This is exactly the kind of vital information parents need to make good choices for their kids," she said.
We even got thumbs-up from some unexpected quarters:
"I don't find myself in the position of applauding them very often, but in this case I do," Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, said in The Hartford Courant.
With calorie labels on the front of beverages, it will be even easier for consumers to make informed choices for themselves and for their families.
Our industry recognizes that it will take all of us—government, school administrators, the public health community, health professionals, parents and industry – working together to address the complex obesity challenge facing our nation. Through a series of concrete, meaningful actions, the non-alcoholic beverage industry is doing its part to help reduce childhood obesity.
In addition to Clear on Calories, we’ve changed the beverage landscape in America’s schools by removing full-calorie soft drinks and replacing them with more lower-calorie and smaller-portion options. That action has slashed beverage calories shipped to schools by 88 percent since 2004.
America’s leading beverage companies follow responsible practices regarding marketing to children that recognize the central role that parents and other caregivers should play in making choices for their children. Under guidelines applied globally, companies do not advertise any beverages other than 100 percent juice, water or dairy-based drinks on programming predominantly aimed at children under 12.
And the industry has cut the overall beverage calories produced for the marketplace by 21 percent from1998 to 2008. Our industry, through product innovation, continues to meet the evolving tastes of the American consumer.
These bold actions will have a meaningful and lasting impact for generations to come.