If you were to assess the beverage landscape in America’s schools today, it wouldn’t resemble what you may have read about in some recent news stories.  And if you’ve read about the latest study published online yesterday, you may be confused.  Join the club.

Our frequent Sip & Savor readers know that our industry is very proud of its successful implementation of national School Beverage Guidelines.  In fact, the guidelines drove an 88 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools since 2004, as was announced by former President Clinton last year at a news conference.

Then why are the findings on this paper on beverages in schools so different?  Because they look at data sets that simply fail to paint a true picture of today’s school beverage landscape.  The authors look at data sets from 2004 which was prior to the development of industry’s School Beverage Guidelines, and 2007 – several years prior to their successful implementation. And even with that, the authors do not make it clear how much these students purchased or consumed, nor do they address when – was it during the school day or after school at an event with parental supervision?

Just another reminder that sometimes you may have to dig a little deeper than a news story to get the facts.