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‘Think, drink, and move’
You might not have expected it, but soft drinks firm Coca-Cola is getting serious about getting healthy. Vice President, CSR, John Reid spoke to Trends magazine.
August 19, 2010 6:59 by kippreport
Coca-Cola is one of the world’s biggest brands, almost omni-present and commanding a huge brand loyalty. But recently the company is attempting to address one of its most significant challenges since the New Coke debacle of the 1980s – questions about healthy consumption of food and drink. Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility John Reid says the company is well positioned for this challenge thanks to the breadth of its portfolio.
What challenges does Coca-Cola see as a global company?
As a global business that serves more than 200 countries, I can tell you one of the challenges we see is the increasing social and financial consequences of chronic diseases caused by poor nutrition and obesity, and the need for our business to do its part to help educate consumers and support their efforts to live healthy lives.
What are you doing to address this?
We have a three-pronged approach. It involves education, variety, and physical activity. We educate on the importance of energy balance; we provide variety in the products and package sizes; and we encourage active, healthy living. In essence, our approach can be summed up as “think, drink, and move.”
There is consensus that weight gain is primarily the result of an imbalance of energy, basically too many calories in and not enough calories out. We believe that all foods and beverages can have a place in an active, healthy lifestyle that combines a sensible, balanced diet with regular physical activity. That’s why we actively support nutrition education and physical activity initiatives in more than 100 countries.
Part of the education process also involves us making it even easier for our consumers to make decisions about what they choose to drink. Last year, we were the first beverage company to commit to putting the calories on the front of our packaging.
While it’s important to reduce calories in many parts of the world, it’s equally important to fill nutrition gaps in others. And we hope to use our beverage expertise to help in this area by increasing the variety of products we offer with added vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial ingredients. For example, in South Africa and Chile we offer Nurisha, a beverage enriched with 12 vitamins and minerals, to address a range of nutritional deficiencies in children, and in the Philippines we offer NutriJuice, a beverage focused on providing iron to children who have iron deficiency.
These are complex, challenging issues and we know we do not have all the answers. So we are focused on learning, contributing, and working with government, academia, health societies, and other responsible members of civil society to address poor nutrition and obesity.
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