Sales of soda and other drinks have dropped sharply since 2004 in US secondary schools, according to a report by carried out by Keybridge Research on behalf of the American Beverage Association.
To reach this conclusion, Keybridge surveyed 12 bottlers responsible for nearly 90% of all drink shipments to schools on behalf of drink-makers Coke, Pepsi, and Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
Keybridge found overall beverage sales volume to schools has dropped 72% in the last 6 years. There was a 95% decline in sales for full-calorie soft drinks, and a 94% decline in sweetened juice drinks. Full-calorie soft drinks made up less than 7% of total beverage volume shipped to schools last fall. They comprised 40% of the product mix in 2004.
Overall, beverage calories shipped to schools fell 88% during the study period.
State and local regulations are responsible for some of the fall-off, but the beverage companies and their bottlers are to be commended for adopting voluntary guidelines in this regard in May, 2006.
Back then beverage makers and bottlers joined an alliance comprised of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation to fight childhood obesity. In that agreement, the companies pledged to completely eliminate sales of full-calorie sodas to schools by this year, and to ship lower-calorie options in smaller portion sizes instead.
At the beginning of this shool year, 99% of school districts were found to be in compliance with the guidelines, according to Keybridge.
The beverage industry has made “a very strong good faith effort to get full-calorie soft drinks out of schools” Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Wall Street Journal.