by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Soft drinks

Apr 7 2021

The vintage Coke parody ad strikes again

A reader, Ken Kaszak, sent me a link to a post on Quora Digest featuring this “advertisement,” which I put in quotes because it is not, in fact, an actual Coca-Cola ad; it is a joke at Coca-Cola’s expense.

I know this because I wrote about it in Soda Politics.  For starters, the ad says it is produced by “The Soda Pop Board,” but no such trade association exists.  Here’s the page from Soda Politics.

I included a footnote that explains where this parody came from: “The origins of the Parody ad are explained by Dryznar J. Favor from clever dudes, March 4, 2004. http://jdryznar.livejournal.com/64477.html.  The “Not parody” image was constructed from information from AND at www.eatright.org/corporatesponsors.  The parody ad was created by RJ White, as he explains at http://rjwhite.tumblr.com/post/472668874/fact-checking.  It was posted at The City Desk: Fictional Urbanism.  http://thecitydesk.net/baby_soda_ad.”

Once something like this starts going around, there’s no stopping it, not least because this ad seems so plausible, given the kinds of marketing I describe in my book.

Remember these?  They were for real, but fortunately are not around any more.  Parents who used these bottles put in them what was on the labels.

 

 

Feb 1 2021

Industry-funded study of the week: artificial sweeteeners

The study: Effects of Unsweetened Preloads and Preloads Sweetened with Caloric or Low-/No-Calorie [LNCS] Sweeteners on Subsequent Energy Intakes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Human Intervention Studies.  Han Youl Lee, Maia Jack, Theresa Poon, Daniel Noori, Carolina Venditti, Samer Hamamji, Kathy Musa-Veloso.  Advances in Nutrition, nmaa157, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmaa157

Conclusions:  “These findings suggest that LNCS-sweetened foods and beverages are viable alternatives to CS-sweetened foods and beverages to manage short-term energy intake.

Funder: The American Beverage Association provided funding for the work presented herein.

Author disclosures: MJ is a paid employee of the American Beverage Association. Intertek Health Sciences, Inc.(HYL, TP, DN, CV, SH, KMV), works for the American Beverage Association as paid scientific and regulatory consultants.

Comment: This is a study paid for by the American Beverage Association, a trade association for the makers of soft drinks, sweetened with sugars or artificial sweeteners, conducted in-house.  Its purpose is to demonstrate that artificial and low-calorie sweeteners will help you lose weight, something that independently funded studies often do not.  I’d classsify this as marketing research.  I don’t think it belongs in professional journals published by the American Society for Nutrition.  We need a new journal for this, as Corinna Hawkes of City University London once suggested, “The Journal of Industry-Funded Research.”

 

Jan 12 2021

Coca-Cola cuts 2200 jobs: profits vs. social values

Coca-Cola, according to an account in the Wall Street Journal, announced that it is cutting 2,200 jobs globally, including 1,200 in the U.S., as a result of the pandemic-induced closure of the places where its products are sold: restaurants, bars, movie theaters and sports stadiums.

The company expects to save $350 to $550 million annually as a result.

Let’s put these savings in context.  Coca-Cola brought in $37.27 billion in revenues in 2019.

For the company, the eliminated jobs mean “less decision making, less bureaucracy and ultimately less people.”

Corporations, as I have reported previously, have pledged to consider social values—like fairness to employees—in their day to day operations as much as they consider returns to stockholders.

If they are going to make such promises, they need to be held to them.

Hence: the global campaign for Corporate Accountability.

Dec 21 2020

Food marketing ploy of the week: PepsiCo

My colleague, former doctoral student, and frequent correspondent, Dr. Lisa Young, sent me this choice item:

Now why would PepsiCo be interested in putting money into a conference on fermented foods?

Lisa has the answer to that one too: the company just bought a company that makes fermented beverages.

PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire KeVita, a leading North American creator of fermented probiotic and kombucha beverages. The transaction will expand PepsiCo’s health and wellness offerings in the premium chilled beverage space.

I’ll bet speakers at that conference talked a lot about the purported health benefits of drinks like these.  And I’ll also be willing to bet that they did not talk about studies that show no benefit.

Just a wild guess.

Dec 17 2020

Soft drink marketing in the Coronavirus era

A few more items about what soft drink companies are up to these days.

1.  Pepsi is releasing spa kits to ease your home-bound stress (this one was sent to me by Nancy Fink, who is keeping track of this sort of thing for the Center for Science in the Public Interest).

The kits include an exfoliating cola-scented Pepsi sugar scrub, a Pepsi Blue face mask and a Pepsi cola-scented bath bomb, according to the company’s email. With its latest branded merchandise, Pepsi can tap into trends around self-care that have emerged during a chaotic year.

What do you have to do to get one?  You have to help market Pepsi, of course

The company launched a sweepstakes on Wednesday to let consumers enter for a chance to win a limited edition Pepsi Spa Kit. To participate, consumers must tweet #PepsiSpa and #Sweepstakes and tag one of their friends, the company said.

2.  Coca-Cola sought to shift blame for obesity by funding public health conferences, study reports

The Coca-Cola Company worked with its sponsored researchers on topics to present at major international public health conferences in order to shift blame for rising obesity and diet related diseases away from its products onto physical activity and individual choice, according to a new report.

Academics in Australia and the US worked with US Right to Know, which lobbies for transparency in the food industry, to obtain and analyse emails between Coke and public health figures about events run by the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH).

They analysed 36 931 pages of documents to identify exchanges referencing Coke’s sponsorship of the International Congresses on Physical Activity and Public Health (ICPAPH) held in Sydney in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2014 [The study is here].

3.  Coke and Pepsi join Nestlé (no relation) as “Plastic Polluters of the Year

This is the third year in a row they have won this title from Break Free From Plastic. which demands corporate accountability for plastic pollution.  It’s always good to keep this in mind, along with soda companies opposition to bottle recycling laws.

Dec 14 2020

Food industry marketing ploy of the week: exploiting Covid-19

I am indebted to BeverageDaily.com, for this item(and to Lisa Young for sending it to me).

Coca-Cola says:

In a year defined by a global pandemic, Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke campaign is dedicated to ‘holiday heroes’ – those who have gone the extra mile by dedicating time, energy and attention to their friends, families and communities…For 100 years, Coca-Cola has been known for bringing magic and cheer to the Christmas holiday…Now, alongside its iconic Santa and polar bears, Coca-Cola is celebrating the season by putting the spotlight on everyday heroes. Coca-Cola wants to help people feel connected, and to celebrate friends, family and people in the community who deserve an extra special gift of things, especially in an unprecedented year.

This, recall, is about marketing a sugary beverage strongly associated with poor diets, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease, all well established as risk factor for poor outcomes of Covid-19.

Here’s what MarketingDive says the campaign is about.

Comment: Educators, doctors, and caregivers ought to be advising everyone they deal with to do what they can to consume sugary beverages infreuently, and in extremely small amounts, if at all.   And that’s good advice for everyone in this holiday seaseon.

Dec 10 2020

Some odd items, just for fun

I’ve been collecting intriguing items about new foods and supplements, soon to be at a supermarket near you.

Oct 15 2020

Good news #4: Successes in reducing sugary drinks

Berkeley, California, ever at the cutting edge of public health nutrition policy, is banning junk food from checkout counters and aisles.

The new policy will require retailers larger than 2,500 square feet to stock healthy food at the register and in areas where customers wait in line, instead of items like chips, soda and candy. It forbids food items with 5 grams of added sugars and 200 milligrams of sodium, chewing gum and mints with added sugars, and beverages with added sugars or artificial sweeteners. In Berkeley, the policy will affect stores like Safeway, Monterey Market, Whole Foods and Berkeley Bowl.

As a result of efforts like these—public health campaigns, soda taxes, and other initiatives—heavy consumption of sugary drinks (more than 500 calories/day) is declining.

According to a recent study, the percentage of children who drink more than 500 calories worth of soft drinks a day declined from 11% to 3%  from 2003 to 2016, and the percentage of adult heavy consumers declined from 13% to 9%.

This trend is in the right direction.