Coca-Cola said it wants to be part of the solution to obesity

Coca-Cola said it wants to be part of the solution to obesity

The Coca-Cola Co has promised not to advertise to under-12s as part of a global pledge to fight obesity.

The soft drinks giant said today (8 May) that it will “market responsibly”, while including calorie content and other nutritional information on all of its products. Coca-Cola chairman & CEO Muhtar Kent said the company is “committed to being part of the solution” to obesity.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson told just-drinks the decision to not market to under-12s is not new for the company, "but we are committing today to scale this globally throughout all the 200-plus countries we serve”.

It means Coca-Cola will not buy advertising in programs that have audiences made up of more than 35% under-12s, the spokesperson said. “We are sensitive to the fact that children may also be watching programs with their family, and we make every attempt to ensure that our advertising is appropriate for a general audience,” the spokesperson added.

The firm has also promised to offer low- or no-calorie beverage options and support physical activity programmes in all of its markets.

The pledge is part of Coca-Cola's 127th anniversary celebrations.

According to its annual report, Coca-Cola spent US$3.3bn on advertising last year, the same amount as in 2011. The company is behind some of drinks industry's most well-known marketing campaigns, such as ads featuring Santa Claus in the colours of the Coca-Cola brand. The Coca-Cola spokesperson said no ads will be discontinued because of the pledge.

Asked if PepsiCo will match Coca-Cola's commitment, a spokesperson for the company said: "PepsiCo has global policies in place that restrict marketing to kids, remove full-sugar beverages from schools, and provide clear nutrition labeling. We plan to continue building on our progress."

It is not the first time Coca-Cola has pledged to tackle obesity. In January, the company launched an advert that warned consumers “If you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you'll gain weight”.