Even America's soda-makers agree that people are getting too many calories from their products, and the biggest three have now pledged to cut calorie consumption by a fifth by 2025. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Dr Pepper Snapple Group won't actually be reducing the number of calories their products contain, USA Today reports, but they plan to step up the marketing of low-calorie drinks and bottled water, introduce calorie counts on soda vending machines and store coolers, and promote smaller portion sizes. An independent third party will keep tabs on the soda giants' progress, though they won't be penalized if they fail to meet their targets, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The plan announced at the Clinton Global Initiative yesterday "is huge," Bill Clinton tells the New York Times. "I've heard it could mean a couple of pounds of weight lost each year in some cases." Soft drinks account for around 6% of the average consumer's daily calories, but Clinton says it can be half or more among children in poorer communities. Health advocates, however, are pretty skeptical of the calorie-cutting initiative, noting that soft drink sales have been sliding for years anyway, and the companies have fought hard against efforts to fight obesity by taxing soda or restricting portion sizes. (A recent study recommended a 12,000-step plan for people who drink a lot of sugary soda.)