Coke Chief Calls on Drinks Industry to Tackle Obesity

10 December 2003

Coca-Cola chairman/ceo Douglas Daft has called on the beverages industry to work together to combat obesity.

Speaking at a conference in New York, Daft argued that state intervention in the food and drinks industry would not be enough to slim the waistbands of America. "A simplistic government solution will not address the issue," he declared.

Daft wants beverage groups to take steps to support healthy and active lifestyles, though he warned that parents and schools must also do their bit to encourage sensible consumption.

The advertising of unhealthy food and drink -- and child-oriented promotion in particular -- faces growing opposition in the US and other Western nations. Many snack and beverage firms are looking to take action themselves to pre-empt government intervention.

Coke's efforts have so far had mixed results. The cola giant recently issued new guidelines for its schools marketing in the US, but it came under fire in the UK for sponsoring the pop music charts [WAMN: 20-Nov-03; 03-Dec-03].

The drinks giant is now risking more criticism in Britain after it this week unveiled a Coke-branded music download service. Due to launch next month, will be available only in the UK and offer over 250,000 songs from 8,500 artists.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff