That's right - Coke is going healthy!!!
Well, not exactly, but on May 8th, the 127th anniversary of Coca-Cola, the company announced its new efforts to step forward and provide commitments, actions, and solutions that contribute to healthier, happier and more active communities. They specifically cite four initial provisions:
- Offer zero or low calorie drinks in every market globally
- Provide “front label nutrition information” on all products for more transparency and easy nutrition reference
- Support fitness opportunities in every country where they do business
- Market responsibly, including no advertising to kids under age 12, globally
Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of the company, was seen on various news shows discussing this new initiative and specifically highlighting some recent fitness partnerships in Chicago, San Antonio, Atlanta and other US cities. The CEO also noted the new “mini-cans,” which offer smaller size portions and are rolling out in the US, Canada, Australia, Korea, and Thailand. Coca-Cola has a new digital platform on line, www.comingtogether.com, which spells out many of the global commitments in more details, tracks some of the initiatives that have already rolled out, and allows consumers to post feedback and opinions on this new company effort.
I already hear the naysayers rising up to shout that a company whose bottom line depends on sales of a stable of food goods, that are mostly unhealthy and sugar-laden, cannot possibly commit to supporting measure that would undermine their bottom line profitability margin. My response? Maybe what they are doing is providing more transparency and opportunity for the individual to then hold the key to implementing personal moderation and choice. The naysayers will say we are already addicted to these high calorie drinks and our health measures have already been corrupted, so "too little too late." My response is to say that yes, I have been yodeling for years that the very nature of these foods is to lure us into wanting more and drinking more, but it is a personal choice for you to go buy it, or buy more than you should, or not exercise to balance the excess calories. Certainly it’s a parent’s choice to decide at what age they introduce these drinks – or not - to their kids. Yes, I understand that kids will get exposed to soda and sugary drinks, despite a parent’s best efforts, BUT there is a difference between casual exposures at family or friend celebrations and for special treat moments, versus full on daily exposure in the home daily diet.
I did visit the coming together website to see just what’s percolating under this headline of "commitment to community health globally:"
- I took note of the heading, stories, but the slant was more to creative rather than health content
- I noted a variety of opinions under that specific banner, one, a commentary on the obesity trend, and one discussing supporting the family. Most of the others dealt with more mainstream topics and concerns.
- Under “Brands” there were a couple of blogs on the new initiatives
- Under “videos” there were some short educational opportunities with Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, but that was one small category amidst many, many other videos on community, entertainment, history, the environment, innovation, and sports.
- The blogs category carried a variety of different topics, most notably a recent study that suggests that much of our sugar is coming from food not drinks. (Yes, if I were Coca-Cola I would also feature that one front and center).
I guess I would sum the website up as a first small step, with much development still necessary, to remotely convey a vibrant and relevant health and fitness center of information.
I'd certainly like to see more evidence of their initiatives, as captured by blog or video reporting. I’ve learned to be patient and hopeful, and very outspoken when it’s appropriate. I’m giving Coca-Cola some time to “put its soda money where its mouth claims to be.” Let’s see……
Amy Hendel is a health professional, journalist and host of Food Rescue, Simple Smoothies and What’s for Lunch? Author of Fat Families, Thin Families and The 4 Habits of Healthy Families, she tweets health headlines daily @HealthGal1103. Catch her guest appearances on Marie! on Hallmark and other local and national news and talk shows.
Published On: May 09, 2013