Our sector has an obligation to behave responsibly in the sales and marketing of its products. UNESDA members have taken a lead in calorie and sugar reduction across their brands. They have also taken bold, self-regulatory initiatives in addressing advertising and marketing to children, and in behaving responsibly in schools. Read further to learn about our specific initiatives, including our Commitments to the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health:
Sugar and calorie reduction
Soft drinks companies have made significant investments in reformulation and new product development to reduce sugar and calories. No- and low-calorie versions now represent over 24 % of soft drinks sales across Europe – and over 40% in several markets.
UNESDA members delivered significant reductions from 2000-2015 and pledged a further 10% reduction by the end of 2020. (link to press release). A mid-term evaluation by independent auditors Global Data shows an average kcal/sugar reduction of 11,9% per 100ml from 2015-2017. (link to press release).
No sales in primary schools and no sugary drinks in secondary schools
UNESDA members have not offered ANY soft drinks products for sale in EU primary schools since 2006.
They have also had strict policies in EU secondary schools since 2006 – including no branded vending machines, the need to offer a full range of drinks products including water and no/low calorie drinks and the involvement of parents in the choice of drinks. In 2017 UNESDA members committed to no longer offer sugary drinks for sale in EU secondary schools.
Original commitments in schools 2006
- Avoid engaging in any direct commercial activity in primary schools, unless otherwise requested by school authorities.
- In secondary schools:
- Unbranded vending machines, respecting the commercial-free nature of schools
- Ensure that a full range of beverages is available including no and low-sugar varieties, water and juices
- Involve parents and educators in the choice of beverages available
2017 further commitment
- In secondary schools, offer only no- and low-calorie drinks for sale
No advertising to children under 12
UNESDA members have not advertised their products to children under 12 since 2006. Not on TV, in print, on the radio or online. No advertising in cinema’s on digital media were added to the commitment in 2008 and 2010 respectively in response to the evolution of media channels.
The Commitment recognises that parents and caregivers wish to retain responsibility for what their children eat and drink. We do not advertise in programming or media targeted at children under 12.
Original commitment 2006
- No marketing communication in printed media, websites or during broadcast programmes specifically aimed at children under 12
- Avoid any direct appeal to children in marketing communications
Changes and developments updated in 2010
- In 2008 UNESDA extended the advertising commitment to include cinemas
- In 2010 UNESDA extended the advertising commitment to include the digisphere and company owned websites. It also tightened the audience criteria and committed to no advertising when 35% of the audience or more was under 12 years of age.
Independent monitoring confirms the following compliance levels:
Clear calorie and nutrition information on pack
UNESDA is committed to supporting Europeans in leading healthy and active lifestyles. In order that people can make informed choices when purchasing a soft drink our members provide clear on-pack labelling listing all ingredients including energy and calorie contribution.
- Sector wide Reference Intake Labelling (RI) (formerly rolled out as Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) labelling in 2008.
- Nutrition information in consumer-noticeable way
- On-pack calorie info per 100ml/or per serving on all products
- Prominently advertise on pack the low/no-calorie nature of products.
Choice and availability
The European soft drinks industry offers a wide variety of soft drinks – many of which contain no, or few calories – encouraging balanced diets, while providing enjoyment and hydration. It also provides a host of different packaging options and pack sizes that allow people to choose a product to suit their lifestyle and energy needs. In particular it has invested in offering individual packs offering the same, or less than the standard 330ml can.
- Increase number of new products with low/no calories
- Increase choice and availability of individual pack sizes and cup downsizing
UNESDA Commitments to the EU Platform
UNESDA was a founding member of the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health when it was established in 2005. The sector made far-reaching Commitments to the EU Platform in 2006 and has expanded these over subsequent years. The sector monitors its compliance levels on a regular basis using independent, third party auditors such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
UNESDA is just one of four organizations to have been named and praised by the EU Consumer Protection Commissioner for its Commitments on tackling obesity made in the framework of the EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health.
The UNESDA Commitments bind industry signatories to act responsibly across the EU in four key areas:
No advertising to children under 12
Responsible behaviour in schools
Clear calorie and nutrition information
Provide choice and availability