February 10th, 2016

Soda Giants Turn to Developing World to Replace Lost US Sales, Report Finds

By Mary Caffrey

As their sales ebb in the United States, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have borrowed tactics from Big Tobacco by looking to developing nations for new customers, according to a report released today by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The trend is driving up global rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, which are overwhelming health systems in nations with rapid population growth, according to the report, “Carbonating the World.”

Both Coke and Pepsi have made promises to avoid marketing to children, but today’s report found numerous loopholes. CSPI identified multiple examples of how using young celebrities and even Barbie makes it clear that the companies seek to lure a new generation of soda drinkers. This mirrors how cigarette manufacturers behaved when anti-tobacco efforts took hold in this country, according to CSPI President Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, co-author of the report.

“When cigarette sales sagged in the United States and in other countries with robust tobacco control programs, the industry quickly pivoted to the developing world to maintain its profits,” Jacobson said in a release from CSPI. “The soda industry is finding that the same strategies work well to sell soda. These are countries with growing populations, growing incomes, and with governments less likely to pursue aggressive strategies to deter consumption.”



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