Coca-Cola Co says it has evolved its product line to include zero-calories drinks

Coca-Cola Co says it has evolved its product line to include zero-calories drinks

The Coca-Cola Co has defended itself against health concerns over its sponsorship of the Olympic Games, saying some countries could not compete without its help.

The soft drinks firm, which has sponsored the event since 1928, said it has “continually evolved” its portfolio, which now features around 800 low-calorie and no-calorie products. “As one of the longest, continuous sponsors of the Olympic Movement, we are proud that we are able to use our sponsorship to enable millions of people to experience the Games and believe we have a valid role to play,” a Coca-Cola spokesperson told just-drinks.

“As well as sharing expertise, without the support of sponsors such as Coca-Cola, many National Olympic Committees would be unable to send athletes to compete.”

The International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge was quoted yesterday (9 July) as saying there was a “question mark” over the sponsorship of the Games by companies such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's because of global obesity concerns.

"For those companies, we've said to them: 'Listen, there is an issue in terms of the growing trend on obesity, what are you going to do about that?'," he was quoted as telling the Financial Times.

Earlier today, Rogge clarified his remarks, saying: “The IOC hugely values the long-term sponsorship and support of both McDonald's and Coca-Cola. Through the years we have personally witnessed the positive impact that they make as sponsors.”

Coca-Cola's spokesperson suggested no one single food or drink is responsible for people being overweight or obese.

“We believe all of our drinks can be enjoyed as part of an active, healthy lifestyle that includes a sensible, balanced diet and regular physical activity,” the spokesperson said.