The Associated Press reports that The Coca Cola Company (KO) is in agreement with the World Health Organization’s guidelines for limiting added sugar intake.
The Atlanta-based global beverage giant’s recent support of the WHO's healthier standards falls in line with the firm’s larger initiative to become a “total beverage company” as it repairs its damaged public-health image and reshapes its core business.
Diversifying Toward Healthier Options
At an industry conference in Boca Raton, Fla., incoming Coca-Cola Chief Executive Officer James Quincy boldly stated that the company known for more than 100 years for its hallmark Coke soda has “outgrown” its namesake drink. Quincy indicates that other categories outside of cola, such as bottled water and teas, have seen faster growth and have better long-term prospects worldwide.
The new WHO guidelines would make just one bottle of Coke enough to hit the limit for an individual’s suggested maximum daily intake of sugar. The guidelines recommend people limit added sugar to 10% of their total daily calories. For an individual with a daily intake of 2,400 calories, one 20-ounce bottle of Coke, packed with 65 grams of sugar and 240 calories, would max out the limit.
Smaller Cans, Better Business
The news should come as no surprise as Coca-Cola is far into its plan to meet the demands of an increasingly “health conscious” consumer cohort. Over the past few years, Coke debuted smaller cans and bottles intended to help consumers with “portion control.” Analysts point out the initiative is a win-win for the company as smaller packages boost bottom-line numbers and up the amount of times customers stock up on Coke, despite their well-intended desire for portion control. Coca-Cola says its smaller packaged products now comprise an approximate 15% of its total carbonated drink transactions in North America.
While combating new local government taxes on sugary drinks, Coke is one of many major beverage companies, including rival PepsiCo Inc. (PEP), focused on bringing down its global “sugar footprint.” Coca-Cola also says it is working on reformulating some of its drinks and revamping marketing efforts for “healthier” options such as Coke Zero. (See also: Pepsi and Coke Losing to Healthier Options.)