June 19, 2012
Coca-Cola Not Culprit Behind Rising Obesity
It´s in our human nature to play the blame game when things go awry, and in recent news, Coca-Cola has spoken up to let Americans know it´s not their fault the country is growing fatter.
Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent expressed to the Wall Street Journal in an interview on Monday that his company is not responsible for the rise in obesity in the U.S.
"This is an important, complicated societal issue that we all have to work together to provide a solution," Kent told Wall Street Journal reporter Mike Esterl. "That's why we are working with government, business and civil society to have active lifestyle programs in every country we operate by 2015."
Kent's remarks come just weeks after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on super-sized soft drinks that would restrict the sale to a maximum of 16-ounce servings.
The proposed ban would cover restaurants and fast-food chains, as well as entertainment venues like stadiums and cinemas. The ban would not cover drinks sold in supermarkets or diet, fruit, dairy or alcoholic drinks.
Kent emphasized that Coca-Cola is not just in the business of offering-up sugary drinks, but has plenty of other healthier options for consumers as well.
"We've gone from being a single-beverage, single-brand company to now 500-plus brands, 3,000 products," he told the Wall Street Journal. "Eight hundred of these products we've introduced in the last four or five years are calorie-free or low-calorie."
"It is, I believe, incorrect and unjust to put the blame on any single ingredient, any single product, any single category of food," he said.
Bloomberg claims the ban is needed in order to confront the rising obesity in the U.S., which ultimately leads to higher health costs.
Earlier today, redOrbit reported about a new study that shows how America's overall weight compares to the rest of the world. According to the study, the average body mass in the world is 136 pounds, while the average weight in North America was 178 pounds.
The researchers for that study said that North America consists of 34 percent of the world's weight, but only contains 6 percent of the world's population.
Critics of the Bloomberg ban point-out that while the mayor is seeking to ban unhealthy habits, the city hosts eating events such as the Coney Island hotdog competition.
While Kent makes headlines for remarks about Coca-Cola not being the culprit behind America's rising obesity, the company is also making headlines for sending out a cease-and-desist letter to Sodastream for its "cage" exhibits.
Sodastream has more than 20 "cage" exhibits across the world that feature cans and bottles that employees collect from dump sites, which are placed in a giant cage used to illustrate how many bottles and cans a family uses over the years.
Coca-Cola lawyers sent out the cease-and-desist letter, saying Sodastream's exhibit was infringing upon trademark rights and also causing derogatory advertising. However, Sodastream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said he has no intentions of stopping the campaign.
"We think it is absolutely ridiculous," Birnbaum told Forbes. "If they claim to have rights to their garbage, then they should truly own their garbage, and clean it up. Instead of getting a thank you for cleaning up, we´re getting a lawyer´s letter."
"We find it incredulous that Coke is now re-claiming ownership of the billions of bottles and cans that litter the planet with their trademarks," he continued. "In that case, they should be sued in the World Court for all of the damage their garbage is causing."