Beverage industry makes commitment to calorie disclosure

WASHINGTON -- The American Beverage Association announced that consumers across the United States will soon find new calorie labels on the front of their favorite beverages as part of an effort by 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 association reported.

"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. "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."

The labels denoting total calorie count will be displayed on every container that is 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. 

The Clear on Calories initiative has required a significant manufacturing, distribution and resource commitment by the participating companies: The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Sunny Delight Beverages, Nestle Waters North America, Cott Beverages and Honest Tea.

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, according to The American Beverage Association. 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.