Report Shows Decrease in Beverage Calories Consumed

An independent analysis found the rate of calorie decline was not generally driven by reduced overall beverage sales.

November 30, 2018

NEW YORK CITY – A new report shows beverage calories consumed per person declined in all five of the measured local communities as part of the Beverage Calorie Initiative (BCI)—a national effort between the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, NACS, the American Beverage Association, The Coca-Cola Company, Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo to reduce the per-capita consumption of calories that Americans get from beverages by 20% by 2025.

The findings are significant as it is the first year since measurement began in 2015 that declines have been reported across all communities measured and the rate of calorie decline exceeded the national decline reported in August 2018.

“For more than a decade, Healthier Generation has been dedicated to driving transformative change through cross-sector work that improves access to lower- and no-calorie beverage options,” said Anne Ferree, chief strategy and partnership officer at Healthier Generation, in a press release. “The latest findings highlight the positive impact that can come from collaborations rooted in data. It also shows the power of community agency and a commitment to creating healthier environments and ultimately healthier communities.”

Since 2014, five communities in which calorie reduction is expected to be the most challenging have been selected for participation in the BCI. Specific neighborhoods in Little Rock, Ark.; Eastern Los Angeles, Calif.; the South Bronx, Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights neighborhoods in New York City; Montgomery and Lowndes counties in Alabama; and Coahoma, Panola, Quitman and Tunica counties in the Mississippi Delta.

In these five communities, the pace of calorie reductions per person in 2017 was ahead of the needed pace to achieve each community goal. These decreases were not generally driven by reduced overall sales, but rather factors including an increase in sales of no- and low-calorie beverages and a decrease in sales of full- and mid-calorie beverages. Sales serve as the proxy for consumption. The data shows momentum regarding calorie declines; however, additional time is needed to ensure that pace can be sustained.

The analysis shows that the calorie declines ranged from 5.4% in Montgomery-Lowndes, Ala., to 2.2% in Eastern Los Angeles. The analysis shows that the rate of decline in the five communities exceeded the national rate and is like the national findings in that progress towards the BCI goals continues at its strongest rate yet.

“America’s leading beverage companies share the goal of strong, healthy families and communities, which is why we are working in neighborhoods and nationally to help people cut the sugar and calories they get from beverages by providing them more choices with less sugar and zero sugar, smaller package sizes and clear calorie information,” said Mark Hammond, interim CEO, executive vice president and CFO of the American Beverage Association. “We believe everyday consumers are best served when private industry, government and public health groups work together to have a meaningful, sustainable impact.”

Read the full report at HeathierGeneration.org.

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