Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

The Coca-Cola Company (KO) Takes Anti-Obesity Campaign Global

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) says it will make lower-calorie options and clear calorie labeling more widely available around the world, intensifying a push against critics who say its drinks pack on the pounds.

Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO)

The Atlanta-based company, which also makes Sprite, Fanta, and Minute Maid, already offers diet drinks in most markets. But there’s no consistency in their availability, particularly in emerging markets such as China and India.

Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) also said Wednesday that it would support programs that encourage physical activity and no longer market to kids younger than 12. The company did not say in which countries it currently markets to children.

With sugary drinks often blamed as a culprit for making people fat, Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) has been more aggressive in trying to convince customers its products can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Earlier this year, the company aired its first TV ad addressing the matter in the U.S. and has since been rolling out the spot to other countries.

The ad touts Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO)’s wide range of lower-calorie offerings. But executives have also made a point of standing by the company’s full-calorie drinks, saying that physical activity plays an important role in fighting obesity.

“There is a place for all of our beverages in a healthy lifestyle,” CEO Muhtar Kent said in a call with reporters.

The announcement from Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) comes as packaged food companies across the industry look for growth in emerging markets, where middle-class populations are growing rapidly. As more people head to cities and see their incomes increase, they’re more prone to eating convenient packaged foods that critics say have fueled obesity rates in developed nations.

The shifting populations around the world nevertheless represent an enormous opportunity for companies. For example, Coca-Cola has noted that Americans on average drink 403 servings of its various beverages a year. That compares with just 12 servings per year in India and 38 in China.

And the company’s diet options aren’t nearly as popular in such countries as they are back at home. In the U.S., where soda consumption has been declining for years, diet drinks now account for 41 percent of sales for the flagship Coke brand. That’s up from single-digits in the 1980s.

Even in major Chinese cities, by contrast, the percentage of sales that diet options account for is in the “high single digits,” Kent said.

Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) says its goal is to have diet options available wherever regular versions are sold. But that doesn’t mean there would be a diet alternative for every particular brand. For example, if a store in India sells Coke it might also offer Sprite Zero, which doesn’t have any calories, to meet the goal.

The company also says it’s working to have cans and bottles around the world display calories counts on the front of labels, as it does in the United States.

But the company didn’t have a timeline for when it hoped to achieve its goals.

The article Coke Takes Anti-Obesity Campaign Global originally appeared on Fool.com is written by Associated Press.

The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Loading Comments...