We welcome the new report “Carbonating the World. The marketing and Health Impact of Sugar Drinks in Low- and Middle-income Countries” published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The report explains how the two major global soft-drink manufacturers, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, have shifted their investments to markets in low- and middle-income countries such as Brazil, China, India and Mexico, to maintain their profits in the face of declining sales in high-income countries. The main strategies used by these corporations to maintain their profits and grow their businesses include actions on “sustainability and community engagement”, provision of water to vulnerable populations and widening portfolios of sugary drinks.
The report provides recommendations to countries, civil society organizations, and to the catering industry to withhold and hinder the growth of the sugar-sweetened beverages market in such countries.
Recommendations for governments include: restricting the sugar content of beverages, taxing sugary drinks, restricting marketing to children, reducing container size allowance on the market, disclosing adverse effects of drinking sodas on the labels, reducing content of calories, and taking preventive measures to stop industry from opposing governmental measures aimed to reduce the harm from and the demand for sugary drinks.
Recommendations for civil society groups include raising awareness and pushing action among policy-makers and the public by exposing the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on health and tactics adopted by manufacturers to keep their business; advocating for stronger regulatory legislation; monitoring and evaluating policies and actions from the government to curb the rising sugar-sweetened beverages consumption; monitoring industry’s practices and exposing incompliance with voluntary commitments and laws; discouraging celebrities and athletes from promoting sugar-sweetened beverages; and creating international coalitions to promote research, actions and advocacy groups to reduce the harm of and the demand for sugar-sweetened beverages and other ultra-processed sugary products in low- and middle- income countries.
Recommendations for the catering industry include: dropping sugary drinks from kid’s menus, include the caloric content of foods in their menus and limiting serving sizes of sugar-sweetened beverages.
(Image credits: CSPI)