Three of the biggest soda manufacturers in the world have pledged to reduce their sugar and calories within the next years, a move that could have a huge impact on the world's diet.
During the tenth global initiative organized by former president Bill Clinton, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi announced their commitment on Tuesday in cutting back sugar used in their drinks by 20% each year until 2025.
This is in response to the rapidly growing rate of obesity, especially among children. According to American Heart Association, about 1 in every 3 children in the United States are either overweight or obese. That makes them vulnerable to serious diseases such as certain kinds of cancer and cardiovascular disorders earlier than the previous generation.
Aside from reducing sugar, these three companies are also planning to expand their drinks with low or no calories such as Coke Zero, as well as produce sodas in smaller quantities or packages. They will also use their marketing strategies for consumer education.
The said changes will extend even to coolers and vending machines.
Currently a 375 ml of Coca-Cola has around 160 calories and 40 g of sugar. Meanwhile, an 8 oz Peach Tea Snapple can contain almost 20 g of sugar and 81 calories.
Prior to this commitment, manufacturers have already begun putting efforts in educating consumers about calories including decreasing calories of sodas sold in vending machines of public offices in certain U.S. cities.
Coca-Cola, meanwhile, had released an obesity-driven ad last 2013 that teaches viewers how to count calories. Its UK website has a FAQ page showing how many calories a regular Coke can has and recommends switching to its no-calorie version. It also shows a handy Work It Out calculator that determines activities to balance out soda calories. For instance, drinking an entire can of Coca-Cola Cherry with 149 calories can be compensated by 24 minutes of aerobics or 18 minutes of basketball.