Lots of sugar ‘isn’t good for anyone,’ Coke CEO says

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Lots of sugar ‘isn’t good for anyone,’ Coke CEO says

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Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Coca-Cola’s recently named chief executive said excessive sugar “isn’t good for anyone” as the company released its annual report on its impact on the environment and consumers.

The Atlanta beverage giant has been facing slowing soft drink sales amid changing consumer tastes and efforts by cities and other governments to tax sodas to boost revenues and discourage consumption of sugary drinks.

Coca-Cola announced it was doing away with Coke Zero. In its place, it will sell Coke Zero Sugar. CZS has the same ingredients as Coke Zero. A Coca-Cola representative said the new drink has different ingredient ratios. CZS also has 30 g less sodium than CZ. According to Coca-Cola, the new blend was designed to taste more like real Coke.

Earlier this month, a penny-per-ounce beverage tax took effect in metro Chicago’s Cook County that will be collected on both sugar- and artificially-sweetened soft drinks.

The bulk of Coca-Cola’s 2016 Sustainability Report, released late last week, deals mostly with environmental and social issues, such as what portion of Coke’s cans and bottles were recycled (60 percent) and the company’s total charitable giving ($106 million.)

But in a letter accompanying the report, Coke CEO James Quincey talked mainly about the sugar issue.

“Concerns about obesity and health mean people now want more natural ingredients, drinks with more nutrition and benefits, and often less sugar,” said Quincey.

“We’re listening to consumers, and we agree with the World Health Organization that too much sugar isn’t good for anyone,” he said.

Coca-Cola has responded with smaller servings and re-formulated drinks with less sugar or no-sugar options, such as its Coca-Cola Zero Sugar brand, now being rolled out in the United States.

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