The Wall Street Journal today reported that The Coca-Cola Co. has decided not to renew its financial sponsorship of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), an organization that represents tens of thousands of U.S. nutritionists and has in recent years been criticized for accepting huge amounts of funding from food and beverage conglomerates.
Coke’s decision is part of a broad review of its partnerships, according to a company spokesperson, and comes just weeks after the cola giant was criticized for its behind-the-scenes funding of a non-profit which downplayed the role of soft drink consumption on obesity.
Coke has given AND $2.6 million over the past eight years for sponsorship of the organizations conferences and programs. Coke’s agreement with AND ends in December, however, the company did not rule out future sponsorship of the group, which has also receives funding from PepsiCo and Unilever.
Following the publication of a New York Times article which detailed Coke’s funding of Global Energy Balance Network, a non-profit that alleges Americans’ lack of exercise — not soda — is fueling the obesity crisis in the U.S. Coke later promised greater transparency regarding its charitable spending.
AND spokesman Ryan O’Malley told The Journal that the organization’s sponsorships “come and go for a variety of reasons,” however, he declined to say why Coke decided to end its funding.