If you're reading today’s media coverage of last night's State of the Union Address, you'll see that, among other topics, President Obama spoke to the future of America’s economic viability and the desire of his administration to focus on technological innovation and investment in new sources of clean energy.
Our member companies are some of the most innovative companies in the world. Our presence is felt in every corner of every community in America – from our products in the aisles of neighborhood stores, to our local delivery drivers who distribute them, to our support of local community initiatives and more. The beverage industry employs 208,000 people. And we support hundreds of thousands more jobs that depend, in part, on beverage sales for their livelihood. And our industry takes extraordinary steps to innovate and be part of the solution, whether it’s helping meet a community need, reducing our environmental footprint, doing our part to address childhood obesity or making our calories more clear for consumers.
From 1998 to 2008, there has been a 21 percent reduction in calories in beverages in the marketplace, as industry continues to produce more zero-calorie, low-calorie and reduced-portion products. And our beverages containers that are 100 percent recyclable. We continue to further minimize our environmental impact by lightweighting our packaging and using more recycled content when possible.
We removed full-calorie soft drinks from all schools across the country and replaced them with more lower-calorie, smaller-portion beverage options. Under our national School Beverage Guidelines, our member companies have slashed beverage calories shipped to schools by a dramatic 88 percent since 2004. And with Clear on Calories, America’s leading beverage companies have come together through a voluntary commitment to make the calories in their products even more clear and consumer-friendly by putting calorie information at consumers’ fingertips at every point of purchase, including containers, company-controlled vending machines and fountain machines.
Our member companies’ voluntary actions will have a strong, lasting impact on communities across the country. And we’re proud to say that these initiatives and our member companies’ innovation will continue to play a major role in our country’s economy.