Coca-Cola is teaming up with its industry counterparts to reduce the amount of calories Americans consume from beverages 20% by 2025.

The Balance Calories Initiative (BCI), launched in 2014, is the single-largest voluntary effort by an industry to help fight obesity.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Beverage Association (ABA) are tackling this ambitious goal by partnering with Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper to educate shoppers about the low- and no-calorie beverage choices available to them, and to help retailers diversify the drinks they offer.

The national initiative is focused on increasing access to beverages with less sugar and smaller proportions in stores and restaurants across the country.

Mini Cans

Coca-Cola is using its marketing resources and distribution network to boost awareness of, and interest in, its expanding portfolio of low- and no-calorie beverages – from Unsweetened Gold Peak Tea to Powerade ZERO to Diet Coke – and in smaller packaging options like 7.5-oz. mini cans and 8-oz. glass bottles. The company also is taking steps to make nutritional information, including calorie counts, more prominent on its beverage packaging and in-store marketing materials.

"We’re still early in our journey, but the Balance Calories Initiative is an important opportunity for beverage companies to work together to help people reduce the calories and sugar they consume from our beverages and offer even more choices,” said Caren Pasquale Seckler, VP, Social Commitment, Coca-Cola North America.

Reports show that these efforts are beginning to pay off. Beverage calorie consumption declined in 2017 and 2018 at a national level, according to independent analyses.

The per-person, per-day calorie reductions (3 calories in 2017 and 3.3 calories in 2018) were driven by a reduction in calories from carbonated soft drinks, 100% juices and juice drinks, and a boost in water sales. Overall, beverage calories consumed per person per day dropped from 203.0 in 2014 to 196.9 in 2018.

Calories per person per day fell at a faster rate in 2018 than in previous years even as beverage purchases per person increased 1.5%, according to the report.

“This latest progress report reinforces how innovations and marketing of smaller portion sizes and lower-calorie beverage choices can help reduce the sugar and calories Americans get from beverages,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO, ABA. “America’s leading beverage companies and public health groups can achieve meaningful progress when we work together to make it easier for families to balance their lives.”