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December 9, 2020

New Community-Level Report on Industry Initiative Shows Calories Consumed from Beverages Down Third Year in a Row

Independent analysis shows continued decreases in areas with higher-than-average obesity rates, driven by lower consumption of full-calorie soft drinks and higher consumption of beverages with less sugar and zero sugar

(Washington, D.C.) Dec. 9, 2020 — An independent evaluation released today by Keybridge LLC shows the calories that Americans get from beverages declined for the past three years in five communities where the beverage industry is measuring progress toward a commitment launched in 2014. The Beverage Calories Initiative (BCI), set by the American Beverage Association (ABA), The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper, and PepsiCo, in collaboration with the not-for-profit Alliance for a Healthier Generation, aims to reduce per-capita beverage calorie consumption nationally and in select communities with above-average obesity rates by 20% over ten years. 

The new report shows that in 2019, beverage calories per person fell in the communities of Eastern Los Angeles, Calif., Little Rock, Ark., Bronx/Brooklyn, N.Y., Montgomery and Lowndes counties, Ala., and the Mississippi Delta, as consumers changed their purchases toward more low- and no-calorie beverage options. This is the third consecutive year of calorie decreases observed in all five communities. 

From the baseline year, when measurement of progress began, through 2019, beverage calories per person have decreased between 1.4% and 18.4% across the five communities, led by Eastern Los Angeles. In the past three years, beverage calories per person have decreased between 4.7% and 10.8%, putting three of the five communities on pace to surpass the ten-year reduction target.

“We are encouraged to see progress continue toward the ambitious calorie reduction goals that Healthier Generation set with the beverage industry in 2014,” said Kathy Higgins, CEO of Healthier Generation. “Reducing sugar intake is essential to improving whole child and family health – a top priority for all of us in the public health community – and these results reflect sustained efforts toward achieving that end.”

The calorie decreases have been driven largely by reductions in calories consumed from carbonated soft drinks, as well as an increase in the volume of low- and no-calorie beverages consumed. Per-person volumes of low- and no-calorie beverages grew 8% - 27.5% in the measured communities from baseline through 2019, while volumes of full- and mid-calorie beverages per person decreased 1.1% - 17.8%. 
 
“The bold actions that beverage companies are taking to reduce the sugar people get from beverages is working and this latest data proves it. Our product innovation and marketing of more choices with less sugar and smaller portions is helping families cut calories in their diets,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association. “This partnership is a great example of how industry and public health can work together to achieve meaningful progress for families.”

For fifteen years, Healthier Generation has driven collaboration with the business sector to create meaningful improvements in public health. In 2006, Healthier Generation, ABA, and America’s leading beverage companies entered into an agreement that reduced beverage calories shipped to the nation’s K-12 schools by more than 90%. The Beverage Calories Initiative builds upon this effort to decrease consumption of calories from beverages at both the national and local levels. A report released earlier this year by Keybridge LLC shows that average beverage calorie consumption at the national level decreased 5.6% from 2014 to 2019. Annual reductions have accelerated over each of the last three years.

The 2019 community-level report is available on the Healthier Generation website at www.healthiergeneration.org/bci and the American Beverage Association website at www.ameribev.org.
 

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About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation empowers kids to develop lifelong healthy habits by ensuring the environments support their physical, social and emotional health. Driven by the passion that every child deserves a healthy future, Healthier Generation has reached more than 29 million kids across the country. To learn more and help make a difference, visit HealthierGeneration.org and join us on Facebook and Twitter.  

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. For more information, please visit www.balanceus.org and www.ameribev.org.

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Krista Washington

Senior Director, Marketing & Communications
Alliance for a Healthier Generation