Recently, American Beverage Association President and CEO Susan Neely sat down with the Washington Examiner's senior healthcare reporter Kimberly Leonard to discuss beverage companies’ efforts to support families and consumers in reducing calories and sugar consumed from beverages. 

“Consumers rule in the consumer business,” said Neely. “You don't get to be a 100-plus year old brand like all three of them are if you don't listen to your consumers. We as consumers want health, we want wellness, we want to have fun, but we want balance, and these companies are responding to that in a very, very meaningful way."

Throughout the interview, Neely referenced many of the industry's forward-thinking, voluntary efforts to promote balance in consumer's lives, such as: 

  • Expanding options. Fierce competitors are working to put more zero- and low-sugar options and smaller portion sizes on shelves. Today, nearly half of all non-alcoholic beverages purchased have zero sugar, and almost 60 percent of new products are low- or zero-calorie.
  • Cutting calories in schools. The beverage industry voluntarily pulled full-calorie soft drinks from schools, only leaving options that have reduced or zero calories, or are smaller portion sizes. This initiative reduced beverage calories shipped to U.S. schools by 90 percent. 
  • Educating consumers. In support of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign, beverage companies placed calorie labels on the front of all beverage packaging in an easily recognizable and standardized format. As a result, consumers are better able to decide what's right for them. 

To watch the full interview, click here. To learn more about the beverage industry’s efforts to reduce the sugar people get from beverages visit