Make us your home page
Instagram

Soda industry: Vending machines will show calories

NEW YORK — As criticism over sugary sodas intensifies, Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper are rolling out new vending machines that will put calorie counts right at your fingertips.

The move comes ahead of a new regulation that would require restaurant chains and vending machines to post calorie information as early as next year, although the timetable and specifics for complying with that requirement are still being worked out.

"They're seeing the writing on the wall and want to say that it's corporate responsibility," said Mike Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which advocates for food safety and nutrition.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed a less-stringent amendment that would allow vending operators to post the information on a poster on the side of the machine, Jacobson said. But he said the industry's announcement Monday shows posting calories right on machines is perfectly feasible.

"This would be an important step forward," he said. "Currently, people don't think about calories when they go up to a vending machine. Having the calories right on the button will help them make choices."

The American Beverage Association, which represents Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., said the calorie counts will be on the buttons of the machines, which will also feature small decals reminding the thirsty that they can choose a low-calorie drink. The vending machines will launch in Chicago and San Antonio, Texas, municipal buildings in 2013 before appearing nationally.

Without providing specifics, the American Beverage Association said the machines will also increase the availability of lower-calorie and zero-calorie drinks. "We have market research that says consumers really like this — they like choice, they like the ability to make choices," said Susan Neely, president of the American Beverage Association.

A mock-up of the new machine provided by Coca-Cola showed 20-ounce bottles of its flagship drink and Sprite inside vending machines, with labels on the glass stating "240 calories."

The move also comes as the soda industry has come under increasing fire for fueling rising obesity rates. Last month, New York City approved a first-in-the-nation plan to prohibit the sale of sugary drinks over 16 ounces in the city's restaurants, movie theaters and stadiums. The beverage industry aggressively fought the measure, saying it takes away customer choice.

Vending machines account for about 13 percent of sales volume, a figure that has remained relatively unchanged in recent years, according to Beverage Digest.

Although other factors such as a lack of physical activity and overeating also contribute, soda consumption is often identified for playing a role in rising obesity rates. Last month, the New England Journal of Medicine published a decades-long study of more than 33,000 Americans that showed sugary beverages interact with genes that affect weight, meaning they are especially harmful to people who are hereditarily predisposed to weight gain.

Soda industry: Vending machines will show calories 10/08/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 8, 2012 8:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. Three-hour police standoff ends, thanks to a cigarette

    News

    TAMPA — A man threatening to harm himself was arrested by Tampa police on Tuesday after a three-hour standoff.

  3. Another Hollywood nursing home resident dies. It's the 9th in post-Irma tragedy.

    State Roundup

    The Broward County Medical Examiner's office is investigating another death of a resident of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills — the ninth blamed on the failure of a cooling system that became a stifling deathtrap three days after Irma hit.

    Carlos Canal, pictured at 47 years old, came to Miami from Cuba in 1960. Above is his citizenship photo. [Courtesy of Lily Schwartz]
  4. Despite Hurricane Irma, Hillsborough remains on pace to unlock hotel tax that could pay for Rays ballpark

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Despite the threat of a catastrophic storm, it was business as usual at many Hillsborough County hotels in the days before Hurricane Irma bore down on the Tampa Bay region.

    The Grand Hyatt near TIA closed during Hurricane Irma, but many other Hillsborough hotels were open and saw an influx.
  5. New Graham-Cassidy health care plan stumbles under opposition from governors

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — The suddenly resurgent Republican effort to undo the Affordable Care Act was dealt a blow on Tuesday when a bipartisan group of governors came out against a proposal gaining steam in the Senate.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., joined by, from left, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks to reporters as he pushes a last-ditch effort to uproot former President Barack Obama's health care law, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. To win, 50 of the 52 GOP senators must back it -- a margin they failed to reach when the chamber rejected the effort in July. [/J. Scott Applewhite | Associated Press]