Speed Reads

bye bye, bubbly

Soda companies joining forces to help consumers cut calories by 20 percent

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group have committed to help Americans cut 20 percent of the calories they get from soda through changes in the marketing, distribution, and packaging of their products.

The goal is to reduce the calories consumed in about 10 years, The New York Times reports. The announcement was made Tuesday at the 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York City. Former President Bill Clinton was excited about the pledge, telling The Times: "This is huge. I've heard it could mean a couple of pounds of weight lost each year in some cases."

Soft drinks account for 6 percent of the average U.S. consumer's daily calories, and in some low-income communities, they add up to more than half of all calories consumed by a child over the course of a day, Clinton said. To combat this, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group said they will offer low- and no-calorie drinks in more marketplaces, and sell smaller bottles and cans.

The companies also plan on using marketing to educate the public about calories, putting up displays on vending machines, fountain soda dispensers, and end caps at grocery stores. "We'll use the most critical levers we have at our disposal, and the focus really will be on transforming the beverage landscape in the U.S. over the next 10 years," says Susan Neely, chief executive of the American Beverage Association.