This post is not about setting resolutions or losing those stubborn last 10 lbs. on the latest “foolproof” diet plan. Nor is it another restatement of the obvious: obesity is a serious problem in this country. And in a complete departure from sensationalized news stories on obesity, I will not single out a product, industry or habit that makes people fat.
Find a Better Way
Instead, I want to discuss a better way to manage weight. What I seek in my own life, what I teach my teenage son and what our members want to do, is help people find balance. The balance of what you eat, drink and do is the simple expression of a complex way of behaving. And this balance will lead more people to better health than shaming them, blaming them or government diving into grocery carts.
For the beverage industry, this balance takes shape in our national Balance Calories Initiative. Our members—all fierce competitors at Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper—are working together to reduce calories from sugar in beverages. This ambitious goal of reducing beverage calories 20 percent per person by 2025 has our members providing more choices, smaller portions and less sugar in the wide array products they make and sell.
Test and Learn / Replicate and Scale
Beyond individual company activities, this Balance Calories Initiative has a community component. Changing behavior is not easy, so all member companies are involved in “test and learn” markets in cities like Little Rock, the South Bronx, East LA, and in areas like the Mississippi Delta and rural Alabama. These intensified pilot sites will give company leaders more information about what works so that great ideas are replicated and scaled across the country. Ideas like in store tastings of new lower calories products, retail coupon strategy, merchandizing shuffles, and more will be tested.
Check the Calories
As the test and learn sites continue, our members already have calorie labels at point of sale, on every bottle, pack and can we sell, on vending machines, coolers and soon fountain equipment. This education effort will expand to more places on more equipment in an effort to educate consumers about how many calories are in their beverages and to help them find what works for them.
A national ad campaign highlighting the choices, smaller portions and less sugar options our members now offer and are actively developing is running this year in key markets. Find updates on these efforts at www.balanceUS.org
Showcase Ohio Ingenuity
Soon, we will highlight Ohio activities on Balance Calories and you can bet that our Buckeye ingenuity and community spirit will carry the message and reality of finding balance across this great state. I look forward to sharing more of how America’s beverage companies are supporting real efforts of real people to find balance.