Coca-Cola has moved to head off rising concerns that sugary drinks are contributing to an obesity epidemic by adopting clearer calorie-count labels, promoting diet drinks and renewing a pledge not to market to children under 12.
The policy, announced on Wednesday, comes as the world’s largest beverage company and its rivals draw fire from health experts and lawmakers over the high calorie content of their flagship products.
“They need to take this head-on given all the pressure they’re facing, certainly from a regulatory perspective and without a doubt from the consumer perspective,” said Ali Dibadj, analyst at Bernstein, an investment group.
He said soda sales had fallen in the US as consumers, worried about health issues, “self-regulated” their consumption. As a result, beverage companies are expanding in emerging markets, including India and China, to win new business.
Analysts said Coke and rivals were concerned about a crackdown around the world.