We recently came across a blog post that seemed to be generated because of some questions about full-calorie beverages – questions supposedly raised while viewing our industry's "Rivals" TV ad highlighting the remarkable results of the implementation of the national School Beverage Guidelines. So, we thought we’d help clear up any misinformation that might be out there. After all, we aim to help inform people about the beverage industry.
Essentially, when it comes to our industry's products, you have regular (or full-calorie) beverages and then diet (or low- or no-calorie) beverages. Full-calorie and low-calorie have nothing to do with portion size. And the term "full-calorie" is not defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To make it easier to understand, remember that a regular soda - or a regular sports drink, energy drink, etc. - contains a caloric sweetener, such as sucrose or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). That sweetener contributes calories to the beverage. Regular - or full-calorie soft drinks - can come in a varying range of calories. Simply think of the terms "regular" and "full-calorie" as interchangeable. Diet sodas, on the other hand, are no- or low-calorie beverages and contain low-calorie sweeteners, or sugar substitutes, such as aspartame or ace-K, to name a couple.
Now when it comes to the School Beverage Guidelines, there is plenty of information available on the Internet - whether you visit the American Beverage Association Web site, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Web site, or simply "Google" the term. Going back to the TV spot that generated these questions, if you watch the spot, you’ll hear that the beverage industry has removed "full-calorie soft drinks" from all schools - a message driven home by a teacher writing it on a chalkboard (Note: The ad doesn’t say "full-calorie beverages.") Again, what does that mean? It means we’ve removed regular soda. In just a three-year implementation period, our industry, along with its school partners, dramatically changed the school beverage landscape across America. In fact, more than 98 percent of schools and school districts measured were aligned to the guidelines. This is pretty significant. In fact, during a news conference to announce the results of the final progress report, President Clinton said:
"Nearly all the schools and school districts are in compliance. I applaud the beverage industry for working with us, and for the good faith and aggressiveness they’ve shown in implementing these guidelines across the country. And for their commitment to offer healthier beverages in schools."
So we hope this answers any questions on what constitutes a regular or diet beverages - or what our guidelines are all about. If you want to find out more about our member companies’ products, check out our Web site. We even have a products issue site which gives specific on the myriad product categories available from our industry. And for some quick information on the School Beverage Guidelines, you can read our news release.