Consumers across America are seeing new calorie labels on the front of their favorite beverages, as America's leading non-alcoholic beverage companies bring the Clear on Calories initiative to stores. The beverage industry's voluntary commitment to make calories more visible and useful to consumers supports First Lady Michelle Obama's efforts to help families make informed choices as part of an active, healthy lifestyle.
"The new labels put calorie information at the fingertips of consumers at every point of purchase so they can choose the beverage that is right for them and their families," Susan K. Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, said in a prepared statement. "By putting the calories on the front of beverages, we're making it easier for consumers to make informed choices. It's one more way that America's beverage companies are doing their part to help people achieve a healthy weight by balancing their diet and physical activity."
America's beverage companies are adding the new calorie labels to the front of every can, bottle and pack they produce – and displaying the total calories per container on all beverages 20 fluid ounces or smaller. The labels began appearing on some beverages last fall and are now in stores across the nation. The companies expect to have the calorie label on the front of all of their major brands and more than half their product volume by June of this year – and on all brands and packages by early 2012 as committed.
This calorie labeling initiative is part of the industry's Clear on Calories commitment, announced last year in support of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" campaign to end childhood obesity in a generation. Mrs. Obama highlighted the initiative in announcing her campaign last February.
"We are proud to be one of the first industries to answer the First Lady's call to action and start delivering for consumers," Neely said. "The beverage industry has a proven track record of advancing real solutions to societal challenges, and Clear on Calories furthers that leadership."
The Clear on Calories initiative has required a significant manufacturing, distribution and resource commitment by the participating companies: The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Sunny Delight Beverages, Nestle Waters North America, Cott Beverages and Honest Tea.
The beverage companies are actively redesigning and converting the package labels across their broad portfolios of products, which include soft drinks, 100 percent juice and juice drinks, ready-to-drink teas, sports drinks, enhanced water beverages and bottled water.
The calorie label was developed last year and tested with consumers to make sure it provided clear and easy-to-use information they could use to make informed choices when buying a beverage. The industry worked with the White House and its agencies throughout the label development process and remains in contact with the administration throughout implementation of this initiative.
Under the labeling commitment, the companies agreed to display calories more prominently on:
- Product labels: Total calories will be displayed on the front of all containers up to and including 20 fluid ounces. A 12 fluid ounce serving will be used in displaying calories for multi-serve beverage packages (such as 2-liter bottles). One hundred percent juices and juice drinks, per FDA request, will continue to use an 8 fluid ounce serving size.
- Company-controlled vending machines: Total calories per container will be displayed on selection buttons on company-controlled vending machines, or when infeasible, in close proximity to the specific selection.
- Company-controlled fountain equipment: Calories will be displayed prominently.
With regard to vending machines and fountain equipment, new federal regulations were proposed under health care reform after the beverage industry's commitment was announced. To ensure regulatory compliance, the industry is working within the regulatory process on how vending machines and fountain equipment will be labeled.