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March 31, 2016

Alliance for a Healthier Generation and America’s Beverage Companies Announce Focused Efforts in Alabama and Mississippi to Reduce Beverage Calories Consumed

American Beverage Association, The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo Working Together to Reduce Beverage Calories Consumed in the American diet

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) March 31, 2016 — The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and America’s beverage companies announced today that communities within the Mississippi Delta and Montgomery, Ala., area will be the next to take part in the Balance Calories Community Initiative, a focused effort to help people reduce the calories they get from beverages. By working to change behavior within these communities, the initiative seeks to help reduce beverage calories consumed per person by 20 percent by 2025.

This is the first time that the Community Initiative will be done in rural areas in an effort to gain new insights into the marketing and distribution of smaller-portion and low- and no-calorie beverage options that will best meet the needs of these communities. With support from the Alliance, the companies will seek partnerships with local organizations and community leaders to increase the scope and impact of the initiative and drive change in the marketplace for the health and well-being of their communities.

“We’re eager to take our Community Initiative into rural communities to see how we can drive changes that help people reduce their beverage calories and achieve more balance,” said Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association. “This is just one more example of how our companies are doing their part to address the complex challenge of obesity – by providing an even wider range of options and helping people to be mindful of their beverage calories.”

The Community Initiative is a focused component of the agreement reached in 2014 by the Alliance, The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, PepsiCo and the American Beverage Association to reduce beverage calories in the American diet nationally. This latest effort brings the number of communities that are participating in the Community Initiative to five. Communities within Los Angeles, Little Rock, Ark., and New York were the first to join the effort that will eventually include 8-10 communities nationwide.

The Community Initiative is an aggressive, multi-pronged approach in communities where beverage calorie reduction has lagged behind the national trend. Areas in greater Montgomery and the Mississippi Delta have among the highest rates of obesity in the country, so it’s important to understand the mix of actions that can make a difference in shifting engrained consumer preferences and purchases.



“In the effort to curb the obesity epidemic in the United States, it is critical to reduce the number of calories consumed through beverages,” said Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance. “Focusing efforts in communities within Alabama and Mississippi, where we see some of the highest obesity rates in the country, is a tremendous step forward. We applaud the beverage industry for focusing on these communities and look forward to working closely with them to track and evaluate the impact of this work.”

This agreement to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025 is the single-largest voluntary effort by an industry to combat obesity. An independent evaluator – Keybridge – was selected to evaluate and publicly report on the companies’ progress toward this calorie reduction goal.  Work toward this goal within the Mississippi Delta and Montgomery, Ala., area will begin in the second half of 2016.

Companies will be trying out a range of marketplace activities to change consumer behavior, including:

  • Making lower-calorie and smaller-portion beverages more available in stores
  • Providing incentives for people to try these options
  • Displaying new calorie awareness messages at points of sale

The companies will use tailored tools that combine their renowned strengths in marketing, innovation and distribution to overcome barriers to consumption of lower-calorie and smaller-portion beverage choices. Throughout their communities, consumers will see a distinct change in how beverages are offered and marketed, including:

  • More marketing of no- and lower-calorie options in stores and restaurants
  • Smaller portion sizes emphasized such as 7.5 ounce mini-cans and 12 ounce bottles and cans
  • New calorie awareness information on coolers, vending machines and fountain equipment
  • Companies may also utilize tools like taste tests, sampling programs, coupons and other incentives, and in-store displays featuring lower-calorie products

“America’s beverage companies are working to make sure people have the options and information to achieve a balanced lifestyle. We’re putting competition aside to help create effective and lasting changes for the communities we serve,” Neely said.

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation 
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, empowers kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to build healthier environments for millions of children. To learn more and join the movement, visit www.HealthierGeneration.org

About American Beverage Association 
The American Beverage Association is the national trade organization representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States, including regular and diet soft drinks, bottled waters and water beverages, ready-to-drink teas, sports drinks, energy drinks, 100 percent juices and juice drinks.  ABA and its member companies have a longstanding commitment to being part of the solution to obesity. For more information, please visit www.deliveringchoices.org and www.ameribev.org.