The report, by Keybridge, highlighted some of the challenges facing the US soft drinks industry

The report, by Keybridge, highlighted some of the challenges facing the US soft drinks industry

A decrease in beverage calorie consumption per serve in the US is being offset by an overall consumption increase, putting the country's ambitious new health targets at risk, an industry report has said.

Declines in calories per serve are being offset by an increase in overall consumption, according to the study issued this week by the American Beverage Association (ABA). The stalemate is putting at risk new health targets, unveiled this week by the ABA in conjunction with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, that aim to reduce beverage calories consumed in the US by 20% by 2025.

"Driving change of this magnitude takes time," said Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "We are pleased to see that the beverage industry has begun to implement and learn from strategies that can reach the goal."

According to the report, growth in beverage calories per person from 2014 to 2015 remained flat, as a 2% decrease in calories per 8oz serving was offset by a 2% rise in total beverage consumption. Declines in the consumption of low- and no-calorie soft drinks also had an impact.

The report said beverage makers are responding to the challenge by introducing no-, low- and mid-calorie beverages, while also reducing the calorie content in full-calorie drinks. Meanwhile, companies are working with retailers to change shelf layouts to draw consumer attention towards reduced-calorie options and smaller package sizes.

Challenges include:

  • Consumption of low- and no-calorie carbonated soft drinks declined sharply by 6% from 2014 to 2015
  • While water consumption increased 7%, 87% of that growth was incremental
  • The remaining 13% increase in water consumption appears to have come more from consumers of low- and no-calorie soft drinks rather than from consumers of full-calorie soft drinks containing sugar

The ABA represents US soft drinks manufacturers including The Coca-Cola Co, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group. In November, the trade body appointed PepsiCo executive Jeff Honickman as the new chair of its board.