Coca-Cola US pitches lower calorie products in attempt to fight obesity

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 13th May 2013

Global soft drink company Coca-Cola has said it will work to make its beverages lower-calorie, and make nutrition information more widely available on its products globally.

The US-based Company already has diet drinks available in most markets around the world, but they are not always as readily available in emerging markets such as China.

Coca-Cola said the goal is to have diet options available wherever regular versions are sold, and to have cans and bottles of its soft drinks display nutrition information on the front of the label globally. The Company has also said it will continue not to advertise to children under 12.

But Steve Cahillane, Coca-Cola Americas Executive Vice President and President, told US media that he did not think low or no-calorie options would ever replace sugar-sweetened soft drinks, and that Coca-Cola was “part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle for a lot of people.”

“We believe that obesity is obviously a complex problem and requires a solution that brings business, government and civil society together to not only address calories in, but very importantly get people on the move, inspire them to burn more of these calories,” Mr Cahillane said.

Australian Food News reported in January 2013 that Coca-Cola had launched a new anti-obesity advertising campaign in the US.

Soft drinks battle health debates

The new announcement from Coca-Cola comes as debates about the health effects of consuming sugary beverages continue. Soft drinks have come under fire for reportedly contributing to health issues such as obesity and diabetes.

Australian Food News reported earlier in May 2013 that research had found just one serve of a sugary soft drink a day could significantly increase a person’s risk of developing diabetes.

In the US in March 2013, a New York judge blocked an attempt to ban large serving sizes of soft drinks in New York. New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, had claimed that soft drink consumption was linked to rising obesity levels, and that the ban would address those problems in the City.

But a US study published in April 2013 found that a ban on larger serving sizes of soft drinks may actually increase consumption.