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Montgomery as a national model for healthier soft drinks

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A marketing experiment in Montgomery may figure prominently during a meeting tomorrow at the White House. The Biden Administration’s Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health will focus on healthier drinks. The American Beverage Association chose Montgomery as one of five cities nationwide in 2014 to test ways to get consumers to buy drinks that were sugar free or in smaller cans. Association President Katherine Lugar* says it’s working…

“It’s been in play now for about five years now. We’ve set the goal, over a ten years period, of reducing calories by twenty percent, and in Montgomery we’re down by about nine period,” said Lugar. “So, we’re generally on pace, we have more work to do.”

The ongoing five city marketing campaign is known as the “Balanced Calories Initiative.” Lugar explained the strategy was meant to balance consumer preferences while introducing ideas like sugar free alternatives, or smaller drink portions in what the industry calls “mini cans.”

“It may be that you want a full calorie soft drink, and you might just want a taste of it, and to you get a mini can. If it may be that you’re finishing a workout, right? And you want a sport drink, but you want less sugar, so you go for a zero sugar sports drink.

Today’s White House conference will focus on government’s role in setting goals for better health through nutrition.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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