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World first agreement on soft drinks in schools

11 December 2006

Embargoed until 3.30pm

World first agreement on soft drinks in schools

Coca Cola Amatil (NZ) Limited (CCANZ) and Frucor Beverages Group Limited (Frucor), the New Zealand distributor of Pepsi beverages, have signed the world’s first agreement to stop directly selling all full sugar soft drinks and full sugar energy drinks to New Zealand schools.

The voluntary agreement was signed between the beverage industry and government this afternoon.

CCANZ and Frucor have agreed to stop directly selling full sugar carbonated soft drinks and full sugar energy drinks to any schools (primary, intermediate and secondary) in New Zealand. This will take affect progressively from today and will be completed by 2009.

Both companies will provide alternatives, including no or low sugar soft drinks, fruit juices and flavoured waters.

Coca-Cola Amatil (N.Z) Limited Managing Director, George Adams, says the industry was prepared to do its small part in the battle against rising obesity levels in New Zealand.

“This is a massive decision for us to make about our products. We are taking a proactive leadership position in-line with our 2003 voluntary removal of fizzy drinks from Primary schools - which should signal to the public the seriousness of the threat of rising obesity levels.

“We now expect the debate to shift to areas which will have a much greater reduction on obesity levels – such as education about eating for healthy lifestyles, increased physical activity and balanced food choices,” Mr Adams says.

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Frucor Beverages CEO Carl Bergstrom says a pivotal part of the agreement was the intention to shift consumption to other types of drinks.

“A key message for people is that they need to eat and drink in tune with their lifestyles - so it is important that this agreement encourage children, particularly those who are not physically active, to choose alternative drinks.

“Bans are not an effective mechanism because people want beverage choices, and this agreement means we will continue to provide a wide choice of beverages while removing a substantial volume of sugar from schools.”

The beverage industry is the first sector group to sign a voluntary agreement to help in the fight against obesity under the Food Industry Accord.

ENDS


Voluntary Schools Beverage Statement

Vision

The Government vision is an environment and society where individuals, families and whanau and communities are supported to eat well, live physically active lives and attain and maintain a healthy body weight.

In 2004 the food industry signed the voluntary Food Industry Accord in response to the Government’s vision. The Accord commits its signatories to:

- Recognising that obesity is a major risk to public health and to working collaboratively to tackle it.

- Doing all that is possible to encourage all sectors of the food industry to create commercially successful products and services that will make a positive contribution to the health of New Zealanders.

As a gesture of good faith, and in keeping with the spirit of the Accord to work collaboratively with Government on the obesity issue, both major soft drink manufacturers in New Zealand (being Coca Cola Amatil NZ Ltd (CCANZ) and Frucor Beverages Ltd (Frucor)) voluntarily agree to stop supplying full sugar carbonated soft drinks and full sugar energy drinks to all New Zealand schools by the 11th of December 2009.

Commitments

Industry (CCANZ and Frucor) and Government jointly and voluntarily agree that:

- From the date this agreement is signed in 2006 no new contract between CCANZ or Frucor with any school in New Zealand will include sales of full sugar carbonated soft drinks and full sugar energy drinks.

- As a result, by the 11th of December 2009 no full sugar carbonated soft drinks or full sugar energy drinks will be directly supplied to any schools (primary, intermediate and secondary) in New Zealand.

- Government prefers to establish alliances between Government and industry in the fight against obesity rather than legislation and regulation.

- This Government does not intend to develop new legislation or regulations to ban beverages produced by CCANZ or Frucor from New Zealand schools during its term of office.

- This Government will take steps, through the National Education Guidelines, to require school boards of trustees to develop their own policies and goals on health and nutrition for students, within a food classification framework provided by Government.

- This Government expects school boards to substitute the products available to students to reduce the amount of sugar consumed at school.

- Government acknowledges that the voluntary undertakings of CCANZ and Frucor are an industry driven initiative.

- Government acknowledges the leadership, sincerity and commitment shown by CCANZ and Frucor to voluntary initiatives that make a contribution to solving the obesity issue in New Zealand.

Moving forward

“The signatories are committed to continuing a constructive and collaborative partnership, in line with the obligations under the Food Industry Accord, to address the obesity issue.”


Signed

George Adams ___________________________________
Managing Director Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd New Zealand and Fiji

Carl Bergstrom ___________________________________-
CEO – New Zealand, Frucor Beverages Limited

Pete Hodgson ____________________________________-
Minister of Health

Steve Maharey ___________________________________
Minister of Education

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