Much maligned in recent years and often pointed to as a major source of the obesity epidemic, soda is looking to change its image. During the Clinton Global Initiative meeting today in NYC, Coke, Pepsi, and Dr Pepper have pledged to reduce the calories Americans consume from beverages by 20 percent over the next decade. To cut calories by one-fifth by 2025, the big three plan to market smaller-sized packaging along with promoting zero-calorie and low-calorie products, like water and diet sodas. Former President Bill Clinton expressed his enthusiasm for the new program in a phone interview with The New York Times: "This is huge. I've heard it could mean a couple of pounds of weight lost each year in some cases."
The soda industry plans to sell drinks packaged in smaller portions while also educating consumers to drink fewer calories. This new program builds on a previous commitment to reduce the calories served in schools via sugary drinks. So far, there has been no word on the big three changing formulas or recipes to decrease the actual calories and sugar in their drinks. But as Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told The Huffington Post, this announcement illustrates "the industry is seeing the writing on the wall." But Jacobson strongly believes that we need "bigger and faster reductions to adequately protect the public's health."