Fountain beverage dispensing machines in restaurants may soon be prominently displaying the calories contained in their drinks as the American Beverage Association answers First Lady Michelle Obama's call for innovative industry initiatives that contribute to her healthy families program. In response, America's non-alcoholic beverage companies are coming together to make the calories in their products even more clear and consumer-friendly by putting the information on the front of all their packages, vending machines and fountain machines.
The voluntary commitment contributes to Obama's efforts to help families make informed choices as part of a balanced lifestyle. The companies will coordinate with the Food and Drug Administration to implement the calorie initiative, which will go above and beyond what is required by the federal agency's food labeling regulations. The industry will start implementing the initiative across the country this year with completion in 2012.
The beverage industry — whose leading companies include The Coca-Cola Company, Dr. Pepper, Snapple Group, PepsiCo, Nestle Waters North America and Sunny Delight — also is committing to continue reducing the beverage calories in the marketplace through innovation, smaller portion sizes and further marketing of their low-calorie beverages.
The industry will coordinate with the FDA on its new calorie labeling initiative to ensure that the information on the front and back of a package is consistent. Also, the industry supports the FDA evaluating serving sizes for the entire food and beverage industry as part of its current review of food labels.
The beverage industry is going to voluntarily explore other fact-based labeling on its packages, such as the feasibility of expanding the current information for percent of daily value, currently found in the Nutrition Facts Panel of all packaged foods and beverages, to include other nutrients and also put this information on the front of labels where relevant.
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.