Big Soda, big problems for the Asia Pacific

Big Soda, big problems for the Asia Pacific

By Clare Farrand

Asia Pacific countries are set to further fall at the hand of the diet related disease as Big Soda moves in.

‘Carbonating the World’ a report released earlier last week by the Centre for Science in The Public Interest (CSPI) reveals that as public health measures to reduce the consumption of carbonated soft drinks in high income countries prevail, Big Soda refocuses its efforts on low and middle income countries – countries lacking the necessary means to stop them.

Indonesia has been identified as a major soft drinks growth market and one of the fastest growing markets worldwide. The report revealed that Coca Cola is full steam ahead to take best advantage – purchasing a 29.4% stake in the Indonesian business of Coca Cola Amatil, and investing half a billion dollars in Indonesia in 2015. Coca Cola accounts for 56% and Pepsico 23% of the Asia Pacific market for carbonated drinks.

Source: Centre for Science in the Public Interest, Carbonating the World, 2016.

Source: Centre for Science in the Public Interest, Carbonating the World, 2016.

It is not surprising that these finding parallels those of the recent Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) report which identifies that almost half (48%) of the 41 million children worldwide who are overweight and obese children live in Asia.

Sugar consumption is one of the major dietary factors contributing to the increasing NCD burden in the region, increasing the prevalence of type II diabetes, and obesity. The health consequences, not to mention the corresponding health care costs, from increased sugar consumption are staggering. Public health measures to reduce and prevent consumption of sugar from soft drinks should be made a top priority.

Soft drinks companies are already pouring in their money to strengthen their aggressive marketing strategies to increase sales in the region – and, according to the CSPI report, it’s working.

Source: Centre for Science in the Public Interest, Carbonating the World, 2016.

Source: Centre for Science in the Public Interest, Carbonating the World, 2016.

The NCD Asia Pacific Alliance calls on Governments to act now and implement effective strategies to protect consumers from these sugar drink giants.

NCDAPA echoes CSPI recommendations for all governments to:

  • Make improved nutrition a top priority
  • Mount a well-funded, mass media public health campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of eating a diet high in sugar (salt, and fat) to the public
  • Protect children by barring the advertisements and sales of sugar drinks (and other unhealthy foods).
  • Bar or limit sugar drinks on Governments own properties such as schools, office buildings, prisons and parks
  • Levy excise taxes on sugar drinks increase the price by 10-20%.
  • Restrict sugar content of beverages

To read the full report please click here

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