America's beverage companies announced a new Calories Count™ Vending Program, which will be launched in municipal buildings in the cities of Chicago and San Antonio beginning in 2013 and then made available to vending customers nationwide.
"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 CEO of the American Beverage Association, in a prepared statement.
Building upon previous industry initiatives that removed full-calorie beverages from schools and placed new calorie labels on the front of every bottle, can and pack, the Calories Count Vending Program will provide clear calorie information on vending machines, encourage lower-calorie beverage choices and remind consumers that "calories count" in all the choices they make.
"These vending machines will allow Chicago's workers to make healthy choices and good decisions, in keeping with their individual wellness goals," Mayor Emanuel said. "I am pleased that Chicago is one of the first cities in the country to offer these machines that help to promote healthy lifestyles."
"The most important aspect of any community is its quality of life, and one essential ingredient is healthy living," said Mayor Julián Castro. "Everyone has a role to play in making our communities healthier. Here in San Antonio, we're proud to be working with the beverage industry on programs to help achieve that goal."
"Working with key stakeholders is an important part of addressing the public health challenge of obesity," Neely added. "With our Calories Count Vending Program, everyone who works in or visits a municipal building in Chicago and San Antonio will know exactly how many calories are in their favorite beverages before making a vending machine purchase – and they will be reminded that 'calories count' as part of achieving a balanced lifestyle."
Under the Calories Count Vending Program, The Coca-Cola Co., Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo will work with government leaders, food service operators, vending companies and other customers to:
- Increase availability of lower-calorie beverages in vending machines;
- Display a "Calories Count" vending snipe 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.
The non-alcoholic beverage industry has a proven track record of providing meaningful solutions to help reduce obesity. It has successfully implemented national School Beverage Guidelines that removed full-calorie soft drinks from all schools and replaced them with more lower-calorie, smaller-portion choices. This initiative has resulted in a 90 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools between 2004 and the end of the 2009-2010 school year. And member companies voluntarily added calorie labels to the front of all their packages with the Clear on Calories initiative so consumers know exactly how many calories are in the beverage before making a purchase.
The industry is delivering for consumers in communities across America by providing more beverage choices, smaller portions, fewer calories and clear calorie labels. Now, this new vending program is one more way America's beverage companies are making it easier for consumers to choose the drink that is right for them and their families.