While Coke pushes sugary drinks in US, it bets on Zero Sugar in UK

Shortly after the United Kingdom finance minister announced a plan to introduce a tax on sugary drinks, headlines in Great Britain declared, “Coke bets on Zero Sugar.”

The new soda ads were described as the "biggest marketing investment in a decade.” As the general manager for Coca-Cola Great Britain explained, “We know a growing number of people want to reduce their sugar intake.”  He also knows that number will grow much higher when the UK’s tax on sugary drinks becomes effective in 2018. 

Meanwhile in the United States, Coca-Cola continues to heavily promote the high-sugar versions of its drinks. 


It used the Fourth of July as yet another opportunity to push those sugary drinks on communities hit hardest by regressive diseases like diabetes.  Instead of waiting any longer for our federal government to act, more cities are following the lead of Philadelphia and Berkeley to recoup a small share of soda profits to fund important community priorities. 

Coca-Cola’s ads from the UK and the US both use beautiful women to push soda on impressionable youth, but the US version comes with more than the Daily Value for added sugars. As reporter Roberto Ferdman wrote in the Washington Post:

“It's little wonder that per capita sugar consumption in the United States is something of a global anomaly — the average American consumes more than 126 grams of sugar per day, which is slightly more than three 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola and more than twice the average sugar intake of 54 countries observed by Euromonitor, including Canada and Britain.”

The Coca-Cola label in the US ad touts “You’re the spark” but what it actually fires up is an epidemic of diabetes


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