If you read today’s Los Angeles Times editorial on sugar-sweetened beverages, then you might be interested in the rest of the story that wasn’t included and the broader picture of complex issues like obesity. When it comes to this serious public health challenge, we are an industry that is dedicated to taking real action that will have a meaningful and lasting impact.
The Times recognizes that “reducing consumption of sugared soft drinks isn’t necessarily the cure for obesity rates.” We agree. In fact, as the editorial notes, all sugar-sweetened beverages account for just 7 percent of the average American’s diet. That means that 93 percent of the calories we consume come from other foods.
We’re not trying to fool anyone, we make products with calories in them – and many of our products are available in low- or no- calorie options. This is why we are stepping up to do our part.
California may have implemented a school beverage program before us, but in 2006 our member companies voluntarily implemented the School Beverage Guidelines and removed full-calorie soft drinks from schools nationwide. That drove a 90 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools, between 2004 and the end of the 2009-10 school year.
Our industry continues to offer real solutions to help parents and consumers make the choice that’s right for them by putting calorie labels on the front of every bottle, can and pack we produce. These meaningful initiatives are in place and working, and will have a meaningful and lasting impact.