Missouri Beverage Association members are dedicated to the customers we serve and the communities in which we operate. All of our beverages can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle. Our members produce and promote an array of products that can be catalysts to good health – bottled waters, 100 percent fruit juices, sports drinks, ready-to-drink teas and no- and low-calorie soft drinks.
It is why we are part of the Clear on Calories initiative that makes information about our products easy to find on the front of our packages. It is why we voluntarily regulate the availability of our products in schools as part of the national School Beverage Guidelines. And, it is why environmental stewardship is a critical part of our members’ operating philosophy.
Missouri Beverage Association members believe strongly in personal choice – and personal responsibility. We believe our customers make the best decisions for themselves and their families. We oppose efforts to tax or to insert government regulation on items like soda in America’s grocery carts. After all, government is getting too big and too intrusive in our lives as it is. It is why our industry is introducing initiatives that are meaningful and will contribute far more to solving complex health issues like obesity than those sound bite solutions that offer plenty of hype but no substance.
Our industry is concerned about the obesity issue in America and is proudly doing its part to help improve health and wellness. We understand that it is a serious and complex problem that is best addressed by living a balanced lifestyle – consuming a variety of foods and beverages in moderation and getting plenty of exercise. It’s not just about calories in, it’s about calories out.
Unfortunately, sugar-sweetened beverages have been singled out in this debate in spite of the fact that all sugar-sweetened beverages (soft drinks, juice drinks, sports drinks, flavored waters, etc.) account for just 7 percent of the calories in the average American diet, according to an analysis of federal government data presented to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Committee. That means Americans get 93 percent of their calories from other foods and beverages.
Our industry remains committed to doing our part to reduce obesity and improve public health. It is why Missouri Beverage Association members, along with our counterparts across the country, have been aggressively working to implement the national School Beverage Guidelines. These guidelines remove full-calorie soft drinks from all schools and provide students with a broad range of lower-calorie, nutritious, smaller-portion beverage choices. In elementary and middle schools, students may choose from water, low- and non-fat milk and 100 percent fruit juice. In high school, student’s options are expanded to include other low- and mid-calorie beverages including diet soft drinks, light juices and sports drinks.
The School Beverage Guidelines are part of a greater effort to teach children the importance of a balanced diet and exercise, and are currently being implemented in schools across the state and country. This has been no easy feat, but we are proud that the guidelines have led to a dramatic 88-percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools since 2004.
Our industry is clearly investing the energy and resources to cut calories and make a meaningful impact. Most recently, in support of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity campaign, the beverage industry has begun voluntarily putting new labels on the front of every can, bottle and pack we produce — and displaying the total calories per container on beverages 20 ounces or smaller. This is all part of our Clear on Calories initiative. It makes our products even more clear and consumer-friendly by putting calorie information right at consumers’ fingertips at every point-of-purchase.
Consumers are seeing these labels on the front of their favorite beverages, as Clear on Calories arrives in stores. This is yet another way that the beverage industry is helping consumers make informed choices as part of an active, healthy lifestyle.
Missouri Beverage Association members understand that addressing obesity is important for all Americans and are taking action to be responsible corporate citizens through voluntary self-regulation.
Our members’ companies and employees call Missouri home. Not only are we voluntarily working to help make citizens healthier, but we are proud of our longstanding commitment to a clean environment. The beverage industry works hard to strengthen and restore the environment, focusing on areas of energy and water usage, vehicle emissions, and recycling. We are committed to undertaking the very best environmental practices to be good to our planet.