Beverage industry embraces calorie counts

by Keith Nunes
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CHICAGO — The American Beverage Association, in conjunction with some of the nation’s largest beverage companies, is launching a new initiative in Chicago and San Antonio that will feature calorie counts on vending machines. The program is scheduled to be launched nationwide in 2013.

“We are proud to launch our Calories Count Vending Program with Mayor Emanuel and Mayor Castro, both of whom are deeply committed to reducing obesity in their communities,” said Susan K. Neely, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A.

Under the program, The Coca-Cola Co., Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo will work with government officials, food service operators, vending companies and other customers to increase the availability of lower-calorie beverages in vending machines; display a “Calories Count” vending tag on the front of beverage vending machines reminding consumers to consider calories in their beverage choices with messages such as “Check then Choose” and “Try a Low-Calorie Beverage” and; add calorie labels to the selection buttons on beverage vending machines to show calorie counts per beverage container.

“At Dr Pepper Snapple Group, we are committed to giving consumers the flavors they love with fewer calories,” said Jim Johnston, president of beverage concentrates. “Clearer labeling on our vending machines and a greater selection of low-calorie beverages inside will help consumers make the choice that is best for them.”
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