This morning, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) announced that America’s top food and beverage companies have exceeded their goal to reduce calories in the market place by 1.5 trillion three years ahead of schedule. The full announcement is available here. This remarkable progress of this program comes just three years after HWCF and food and beverage companies committed to the First Lady’s Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to reduce by 1.5 trillion by 2015. It stands as yet another example of how working together toward real results works.

During the foundation’s press conference this morning at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman used the announcement from HWCF as an example of how “leadership can inspire a shift toward products with a smaller calorie footprint” and how “combined market power can make healthier options more available.” These are positive shifts that America’s beverage companies are once again proud to be a part of – and helping to lead.

In addition to a 1.5 trillion calorie reduction in the marketplace, our industry has a history of delivering real change. In 2006, we announced  with former President Clinton and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation that we would remove full-calorie soft drinks from all schools and replace them with a range of lower-calorie and smaller-portion choices. According to independent data, this effort, which was successfully implemented in 2010, has led to a 90 percent reduction in beverage calories in schools nationwide between 2004 and the end of the 2009-2010 school year.

In support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, our industry committed to greater calorie transparency by placing clear calorie labels on the front of every can, bottle and pack we produce. And through the Calories Count™ Vending Program, we’re reminding consumers to “Check Then Choose” or to try a low- or no-calorie beverage.

As Secretary Glickman stated in the HWCF announcement “Today we are seeing an example of what can happen when the public and private sectors join forces – you get results. The leading food and beverage companies in the country came together to form this first-of-its kind foundation because they knew they could make a difference, and they have."

Thanks to industry innovation and the availability of more low- and no-calorie beverage options, the average calories per serving in beverage also is down 23 percent since 1998 and between 1999 and 2010, full-calorie soft drink sales declined by 12.5 percent.

These are real, measurable changes – and we’re just getting started.