Is the soda industry’s promise to cut calories a good PR move?

Drink makers including Coke, Pepsi and Dr Pepper vowed to cut Americans’ calorie consumption from sugary drinks by 20 percent by 2025.

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The United States’ three biggest soda makers—Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and Pepsico—made a big pledge Tuesday. That pledge could also be viewed as an admission.

The companies announced at the Clinton Global Initiative that they are aiming to cut the calories that Americans consume from their own products by 20 percent by 2025. The beverage makers plan to put more promotional clout behind low-calorie offerings and display calorie counts on soda machines, fountains, and coolers.

“This initiative will help transform the beverage landscape in America,” Susan K. Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, said in a statement. “It takes our efforts to provide consumers with more choices, smaller portions, and fewer calories to an ambitious new level.”

On one hand, Tuesday’s announcement indicates a genuine health concern on the part of Coke, Dr Pepper, and Pepsi. Having all three major companies involved would indicate that this isn’t a way for one drink maker to earn a competitive advantage over others.

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