Drinking to our health: can beverage companies cut calories while maintaining profits?

Obes Rev. 2012 Mar;13(3):258-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00949.x. Epub 2011 Nov 10.


Carbonated soft drinks and other beverages make up an increasing percentage of energy intake, and there are rising public health concerns about the links between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain, obesity, and other cardiometabolic problems. In response, the food and beverage industry claims to be reformulating products, reducing package or portion sizes and introducing healthier options. Comparative analysis on various changes and their potential effects on public health are needed. We conduct a case study using the two largest and most influential producers of sweetened beverages, The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo Inc., who together control 34% of the global soft drink market, examining their product portfolios globally and in three critical markets (the United States, Brazil and China) from 2000 to 2010. On a global basis, total revenues and energy per capita sold increased, yet the average energy density (kJ 100 mL(-1) ) sold declined slightly, suggesting a shift to lower-calorie products. In the United States, both total energy per capita and average energy density of beverages sold decreased, while the opposite was true in the developing markets of Brazil and China, with total per capita energy increasing greatly in China and, to a lesser extent, in Brazil.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Beverages / standards*
  • Beverages / statistics & numerical data
  • Carbonated Beverages / adverse effects
  • Carbonated Beverages / standards
  • Carbonated Beverages / statistics & numerical data
  • Drinking
  • Drinking Behavior
  • Energy Intake* / physiology
  • Food Preferences
  • Food Supply
  • Humans
  • Nutritive Value
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Public Health