The Stories Behind the Work: Dr Pepper Snapple Group
In the fall of 2014, Healthier Generation came together with representatives from the American Beverage Association, The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo to announce a landmark agreement to decrease beverage calories in the overall American diet. The beverage industry committed to reducing beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20% by 2025. Three years into the work we asked representatives from each company to share some key insights from our work together so far. This post features and interview with Jim Bien, Director, Government Affairs, Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Q: What motivated Dr Pepper Snapple to join the industry effort to reduce consumption of calories and sugar from beverages?
A: We joined these efforts because of the commitment we share with our fellow beverage companies to deliver meaningful solutions to our consumers and communities. At Dr Pepper Snapple, we believe that balancing the calories you consume with the calories you burn is the key to a healthy lifestyle. For us, reducing calories consumed means ensuring that consumers have the choices and options for virtually every occasion, including low- and no-calorie beverages, continued innovation of great-tasting new products that meet evolving consumer needs and providing them with the facts and resources necessary to make informed choices about their beverages through transparent labeling and comprehensive product nutrition and ingredient facts available about our beverages within easy reach.
Q: Impacting customer consumption is more complex than simply increasing access to different products — can you explain how Dr Pepper Snapple plans to achieve this ambitious goal?
A: Today, we offer more than 120 products with fewer than 40 calories per 8 oz. serving. We are committed to continuous innovation of additional low- and no-calorie products and continuing to expand the availability of portion control packages — such as 7.5 oz “mini-cans” and 12 oz.
PET as convenient options for consumers. This also means continued focus on marketing and merchandising at the point of sale to raise shopper awareness and interest in the great tasting low- and no-calorie choices we have available. Since 2015, we have increased our marketing spend around low- and no-calorie offerings by nearly 10%, with a particular focus on Diet Dr Pepper, which has been outperforming the diet soft drink category as a result of our marketing communication and investment. Now that we have the Bai brand in our portfolio as of early this year, that overall low- and no-calorie marketing spend has been boosted by more than 450%.
Q: What do you think your biggest barrier is to achieving this goal?
A: The communities most impacted by obesity — such as the test and learn markets — have historically been the most difficult to penetrate with lower- and no-calorie products. It takes time and focus to change consumer habits. The challenge we see is two-fold. We have to continue working to drive trial and awareness among consumers in those communities around our many great tasting low- and no-calorie beverages. And we have to work with retailers serving those consumers to include more of those products in their mix of beverage offerings.
Q: What can customers expect to see from Dr Pepper Snapple in the coming months, related to decreasing calories and sugar in your products?
A: You’ll continue to see more focus on sales execution at retail, continued expansion of merchandising elements inviting consumers to choose one of our low- or no-calorie soft drinks, teas, sparkling waters, enhanced waters. There will be focus on driving trial and awareness of Bai and continued innovation in that brand. And there’s more innovation to come in 2018 in other areas of our portfolio around reduced sugar and calories, though it’s still too soon to announce specifics.