News

Two US cities are to display calorie counts on vending machines

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e6884 (Published 11 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6884
  1. Edward Davies
  1. 1BMJ, New York

Manufacturers of sugary drinks will put calorie counts and health information on their vending machines for the first time starting next year in two US cities.

Under the “Calories Count Vending Program” firms such as The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo have agreed to work with government leaders, food service operators, and vending companies on the scheme, which will begin in 2013.

Labels listing the number of calories per container will be added to selection buttons and more lower calorie drinks will be offered in the machines, which will initially be available only in government buildings in Chicago and San Antonio. But the program is scheduled for a national rollout, according to the American Beverage Association—the trade group behind the initiative.

This latest move in the battle over sugary drinks comes just weeks after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg won the right to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 oz (455 mL)from the city and a month after McDonald’s agreed to list calorie counts on every menu board.

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro said that the engagement of industry in public health was a welcome step: “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.”

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6884