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Counting Calories: Beverage Association’s Vending Initiative

The beverage industry, working with two big-city governments, will make vending machine changes for its Calories Count program.

Live in Chicago or San Antonio? Soon you’ll know exactly how many calories are in that bottle of Mountain Dew before pulling it out of a vending machine.

On Monday, the American Beverage Association announced a new initiative, the Calories Count program, with the goal of an eventual nationwide rollout. The program will launch at municipal buildings in the two cities, with a goal of curbing obesity.

“The most important aspect of any community is its quality of life, and one essential ingredient is healthy living,” San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said of the initiative. “Everyone has a role to play in making our communities healthier. Here in San Antonio, we’re proud to be working with the beverage industry on programs to help achieve that goal.”

Government employees in Chicago and San Antonio will also take part in a “wellness” challenge, with the city that shows the best measurable improvement in health winning $5 million.

The group also released a graphic and website showing exactly what you’ll see when visiting one of these vending machines:

In recent months, the soft drink industry has felt a lot of blowback, between negative press about high-fructose corn syrup and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sodas. Could the Calories Count program help offset that and prevent similar soda regulations from reaching other cities?

(photo by TerryJohnston/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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