Stung by criticism that sugary soft drinks are driving a trend toward rising obesity around the world, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) says it will change its marketing to help combat the problem.
On Wednesday, the iconic beverage maker announced that it will halt advertising aimed at children under twelve and promote physical fitness programs. It will also print the calorie counts of its drinks on packaging and will add no-calorie and low-calorie drinks every where it sells products worldwide, the Wall Street Journal notes.
Additionally, Coca-Cola said it will adjust its marketing to place ads in venues in which children comprise no more than 35% of the audience. It has already implemented that policy in the U.S.
In the U.S., Diet Coke and Coke Zero, which have zero calories, account for 41% of Coke sales. More than a decade ago, that figure was about 30%. Though the company does promote its diet products worldwide, they are not easily found in all markets. Coca-Cola says it will ensure that diet products are readily available in each of the 200 countries in which it operates.
In January, Coca-Cola aired a television commercial on U.S. networks in which it highlighted its low and no-calorie products and pointed out that consumers were responsible to making their own healthy eating choices.
Shares of Coca-Cola fell about 1% in Wednesday trading.