WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — America’s non-alcoholic beverage industry is comprised of some of the most innovative and well-respected companies in the world. Our presence is felt in every corner of every community in America – from our products in the aisles of neighborhood stores, to our local delivery drivers who distribute them, to our support of local food banks, community initiatives and more. We’re an industry that takes extraordinary steps to be part of the solution, whether it’s helping meet a community need, doing our part to address childhood obesity or making our calories more clear for consumers.
“The beverage industry has a longstanding commitment to its customers, consumers and communities,” Susan K. Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, said.
The beverage industry supports communities in which we work, and has generously contributed more than $1.9 billion to charitable causes in communities across the nation. America’s beverage companies are active supporters of anti-hunger initiatives including Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization:
- The Coca-Cola Company works with Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, by donating thousands of cases of beverage products each year which are then distributed efficiently to get into the hands of those who need them.
- This year, Dr Pepper Snapple Group partnered with award-winning band Maroon 5 to launch Snapple’s “Tea Will Be Loved” limited release tea which will benefit Feeding America by helping to provide 1,750,000 meals to those in need. In 2009, through its Mott’s brand, the company promoted the Mott’s Wake-Up call. By visiting Motts.com, consumers could send a wake-up call from Emmy-nominated actress Marcia Cross to whomever they chose. Each call generated a one dollar donation to Feeding America, ultimately funding one million meals.
- PepsiCo also is a longtime supporter of Feeding America. In the last six years, the company has donated nearly 400 million pounds of PepsiCo food and beverage products to Feeding America’s network of food banks to help feed those struggling with hunger across the country. This fall, more than 1,300 PepsiCo employees joined volunteers at more than 35 Feeding America network food pantries to prepare care packages to help the organization provide food for thousands of individuals and families in need.
“In addition to being an important part of America’s economy, our industry has been a leader in common sense solutions to help address the challenge of childhood obesity,” Neely said.
Just last year, the industry announced it had delivered on its promise to parents and schools to change the school beverage landscape across America. We removed full-calorie soft drinks and replaced them with more lower-calorie, smaller-portion beverage options. Under our national School Beverage Guidelines, our member companies have slashed beverage calories shipped to schools by a dramatic 88 percent since 2004. This initiative was part of a broader effort to help reduce childhood obesity.
In support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign to end childhood obesity in a generation, America’s leading beverage companies came together through a voluntary commitment to make the calories in their products even more clear and consumer-friendly by putting calorie information on the front of every bottle, can and pack they produce. By putting calorie information right up front on our packaging, our industry is making it easier for people to make informed choices about the beverages that are best for themselves and their families.
Importantly, our members also follow responsible practices regarding advertising and marketing to children that recognize the central role that parents and other caregivers should play in making choices for their children. Under a Global Policy on Marketing to Children, the companies do not advertise beverages other than juice, water or milk-based drinks to any audience that is comprised predominantly of children under 12. The policy covers a wide range of marketing outlets including paid media such as television, radio, print, Internet, phone messaging and cinema, including product placement. Our members also follow the guidelines of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the self-regulatory body for children’s advertising, which apply to all of our beverages. Our industry’s self-regulation has demonstrated success and will continue to improve the health of children nationwide. In fact, recent research conducted by Georgetown Economic Services supports that there has been a dramatic change in food and beverage advertising during children’s programming. Between 2004 and 2010, advertisements for soft drinks decreased by 96 percent, while advertisements for fruit and vegetable juices increased by 199 percent.
“Our industry is already committed to voluntary policies and programs that are having measurable results and real impact,” Neely said.
Industry also is responding to consumer demand by providing myriad beverage choices in a wide array of calorie ranges. In fact, from 1998 to 2008, the industry cut the total beverage calories it brought to market by 21 percent, through the innovation of more no- and low-calorie beverages and smaller-portion options.
With a direct economic impact of $178.5 billion, the non-alcoholic beverage industry provides more than 208,000 good-paying jobs across our country – and helps to support hundreds of thousands more that depend, in part, on beverage sales for their livelihood. In fact, beverage companies, employees, and firms and employees indirectly employed by the industry provide significant tax revenues – nearly $26 billion at the state level and as much as $32 billion at the federal level.
The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States. For more information on ABA, please visit the association’s Web site at www.ameribev.org or call the ABA communications team at (202) 463-6770.