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Beverage Calorie Initiative Progress Report Shows Decrease In Calories Consumed

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A report released Nov. 28 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, the American Beverage Association, The Coca-Cola Co., Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo to reduce the per-capita consumption of calories that Americans get from beverages by 20 percent by 2025.

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

“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. “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. The first two, which include specific neighborhoods in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Eastern Los Angeles, California, were announced at the signing of the agreement in 2014. The next community, which includes the South Bronx and Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights neighborhoods in New York City, was announced in May 2015. In April 2016, two counties in Alabama–Montgomery and Lowndes, and four counties in the Mississippi Delta–Coahoma, Panola, Quitman and Tunica, were announced. Progress in each of these markets is measured against its own baseline year based on when selection and implementation began.

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 with regard to 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 percent in Montgomery- Lowndes, Alabama, to 2.2 percent in Eastern Los Angeles. The analysis shows the rate of decline in the five communities exceed the national rate and is similar to the national findings in that progress toward 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, EVP 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.”

The most recent report is available on the Healthier Generation website at healthiergeneration.org, and on the American Beverage Association website at ameribev.org.


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About the author

Treva Bennett

After 32 years in the newspaper industry, she is enjoying her new career exploring the world of groceries at The Shelby Report.

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