Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sodas in schools are slowed

Last year, former President Bill Clinton and the American Heart Association got the major players in the soft drink industry to agree to lower calories in drinks supplied to schools and to stop most soda sales by the 2009-2010 academic year.

How are they doing so far?

The American Beverage Association says drinks shipped by Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo and Cadbury Schweppes to U.S. schools last year had 41% fewer calories than in 2004 and soft drink distributors are one-third of the way toward complying.

"All the marketing and sales teams needed to be trained, new container sizes had to be made, drinks were reformulated, vending machines were changed," association president Susan Neely told Bloomberg News. "We hit every marker. We're completely on track to meet our 100% commitment two years from now."

Soda makers have agreed to sell only water, juice, tea and certain drinks with 100 calories or fewer at schools. Soda makers have collectively spent "millions of dollars" to create new 8-ounce and 10-ounce bottles for sweet tea and juice to meet the guidelines, Neely told Bloomberg, without giving more specific figures. They also had to reconfigure vending machines to handle smaller bottles, instead of the 20-ounce containers most machines carry.

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