Cutting out one 12-ounce sugared beverage a day means cutting 38 pounds of sugar and 50 thousand calories a year from your diet. But only if you replace it with a beverage that has no calories, no sugar and nothing artificial.
By Heidi Paul, EVP, Corporate Affairs, Nestlé Waters North America
A major shift is underway in what people drink. It’s been developing for more than a decade, but it’s really picking up steam now, and not a moment too soon.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. That’s driving increased healthcare costs and a spike in diabetes, now the fifth leading cause of death in America.
One reason for this unpleasant reality is the role sweetened and high-calorie drinks have come to play in people’s daily diets. Calories from sugared drinks have more than doubled in the past 40 years, according to a UNC-Chapel Hill study. The National Institutes of Health says that cutting out one 12-ounce sugared beverage a day means cutting 38 pounds of sugar and 50 thousand calories a year from your diet.
But only if you replace it with a beverage that has no calories, no sugar and nothing artificial.
That beverage is water.
One of our goals at Nestlé Waters North America is to educate consumers about making healthy and balanced beverage choices. Last year, we partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to promote the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, with the recommendation to “drink water instead of sugary drinks.”
We are the leading bottled water company, and most of our product portfolio is water - still, sparkling, plain and with essence. For occasions when people want something sweetened, we offer a variety of beverages, from lower calorie options like Poland Spring Nature Blends to sweetened options like Nestea, as well as diet products, organic tea and real brewed tea brands, including an unsweetened variety.
Nutritionists recommend that people limit their calories from beverages to 10-15 percent of total calories, approximately 250 calories per day. If consumed in moderation, we believe there is a role for such products to meet consumers’ health and flavor preferences. It’s all about what we call healthy hydration, which is one of the main focus areas in our Creating Shared Value (CSV) vision.
For us, creating shared value means adding value not just for our business, but for society as well. Our efforts are detailed in our 2012 Creating Shared Value Report, and we will discuss them in more detail on June 18th during our live Twitter Chat in partnership with CSRwire and Triple Pundit [join us at #SharedValue at 1pm ET].
How Does CSV Apply To Healthy Hydration?
We sell spring water and purified water in bottles. If people drink more water, that’s good for our business. But it’s also good for society. Here’s why:
People want the convenience of beverages in a package. In fact, beverage industry data show about 70 percent of all the liquid people drink comes out of a package. Not out of a cup. Not out of the tap.
That’s one billion servings of beverages from containers every day. If bottled water is not available, most people will turn to something else in a package - usually with calories, sugar or both.
Some people have accused bottled water companies of competing with tap water. However, most of our business comes from people switching away from other packaged beverages, especially soda. Beverage Marketing Corporation research shows that in 2012, bottled water consumption grew by 6.2 percent while carbonated soft drinks consumption dropped by 1.8 percent.
The reality is, most consumers who drink bottled water also drink tap, depending on where they are and what they need. We think that’s great. It’s healthy hydration.
From an environmental standpoint, we understand the concern people have about reducing packaging and recycling used beverage bottles. We have been working continuously to use less plastic as well as to use more recycled plastic.
However, access to recycled plastic is a problem, which is why we have been advocating for a more effective approach to recycling in America. Today, only 34 percent of municipal solid waste gets recycled. Too much packaging, including beverage bottles, ends up in landfills.
We manage 40 spring sites and more than 14,000 acres of watershed as open space, and we recognize that people are increasingly concerned about water use and water scarcity risks. Our natural resource managers, who are professionally trained geologists, hydrogeologists and engineers, monitor to ensure our water withdrawals do not exceed renewal levels over the long-term. In addition, a study is underway of the effects of climate change in the regions where our plants and operations are located.
Among beverages today, tap water has the least environmental impact, filtered tap the next smallest impact. But among packaged beverages, a 2010 Life Cycle Analysis conducted by Quantis International shows bottled water is the best choice.
So let’s raise a water glass, or jug, or bottle and toast the trend that is now underway, because the back-to-water movement, in all its forms, is a good (and healthy) thing.