Media Release

24 August 2013

Industry rejects calls for soft drinks to carry warning statements

The Australian Beverages Council, representing the Australian non-alcoholic beverage industry, has criticised the recent calls for soft drinks labels to carry warning statements following a Columbia University study that attempted to link soft drink consumption with behavioural problems.

“Calls for warning statements regarding the amount of sugar soft drinks contain are not only absurd but lack any credible evidence to support them. In accordance with Australian food laws, all beverages clearly state on the back label exactly how much sugar each drink contains. In addition to meeting these mandatory requirements, members of the Australian Beverages Council also voluntarily put the amount of kilojoules (energy) the products contain on the front-of-pack label. The industry would strongly argue this provides consumers with more than enough information to make an informed choice” said the Council’s CEO, Mr Geoff Parker.

“With regards to the study attempting to link soft drink consumption with behavioural problems in five year olds, the authors failed to factor out other important considerations and did not prove cause and effect. The authors also noted that their study ‘is not able to identify the nature of the association between soft drinks and problem behaviours’.

“It is irresponsible for any expert to be suggesting such extreme recommendations as warning statements based off this very weak study. What the evidence is telling us is that regular kilojoule soft drink consumption is declining, with just 1.6% of the average kid’s dietary kilojoules in 2007 coming from soft drinks compared to 3.3% in 1995. Today, three of the top four selling soft drinks in Australia are low/no kilojoules, and consumers have more choice than ever to meet their hydration and lifestyle needs. Between 1994 and 2007 regular soft drink sales decreased by 10% while low/no kilojoule soft drinks sales doubled. In addition to all of this, over the last decade the industry has:

  • Reformulated many products to include low/no kilojoule options
  • Introduced smaller pack sizes
  • Eliminated marketing to children under 12 years
  • Eliminated regular soft drink sales from primary schools
  • Voluntarily display of kilojoule (energy) on front-of-pack labelling.

“All beverages can be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity” Mr Parker concluded.

MR – industry rejects calls for soft drinks to carry warning statements

Media contact:

Geoff Parker – Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council, +61 (0) 407 646 195

The Australian Beverages Council is the peak industry body representing the nations refreshment beverages industry.

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