The initiative – entitled ‘Balance Calories’ – follows on from a 20% reduction per capita in beverage calories since 2004. Restricting marketing to children, eliminating full-calorie soft drinks from schools, and introducing front of pack labelling (under the ‘Clear on Calories’ program) have been initiatives used so far.
The CBA heralds its new campaign a ‘substantial and unique’ voluntary effort that can transform the beverage landscape in Canada. Members of the industry body include Coca-Cola Canada, PepsiCo Canada, and Canada Dry Mott’s.
‘Canadians get the same calories from salad dressing as sugar sweetened beverages’
“At its core Balance Calories is about providing all consumers with a range of beverage options, calorie information and encouragement help them balance all of their calories – including those from beverages – with daily physical activity,” the association told BeverageDaily.
“This program will leverage our members’ strengths in marketing, product and packaging innovations, as well as their vast distribution networks to increase consumer access to beverages with reduced calories. Beyond that, it is an internal decision as to how each company will work to move the caloric needle.”
While the need to cut calories and address obesity is well publicised, the CBA believes education is still an important way to address the issue.
Addressing the total diet remains just as important, it adds, saying only 5% of Canadians’ calories come from non-alcoholic beverages.
“The beverage industry believes that education is the key factor in helping consumers make better choices for both themselves and their families,” said the CBA.
“We believe that industry led initiatives, such as the one we’ve introduced, will facilitate the further reduction of beverage calories over the next decade. It will create meaningful change.
“Total beverage calories from all non-alcoholic beverages - including juice and 100% fruit juice - accounts for only 5% of total daily calories. That means that 95% of all calories are derived from other sources.
“Our industry is taking a proactive step, but knows the fight against obesity is complex. To put that in context, Canadians get the same amount of calories from salad dressing as they do from sugar-sweetened beverages.”
The Canadian Beverage Association is the national industry association for manufacturers and distributors of non-alcoholic beverages. It represents more than 60 brands in categories including carbonated soft drinks, juices, juice drinks, bottled waters, sports drinks, ready-to-serve iced tea and coffee, and energy drinks.