In an effort to educate consumers about the stark realities of carbonated syrup, soda giants are rolling out new vending machines that will prominently feature calorie counts. Coke, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper will all launch their new machines in 2013, and also plan to focus aggressively on developing new diet drinks.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed a less-stringent amendment that would allow vending operators to post the information on a poster on the side of the machine, Jacobson said. But he said the industry's announcement Monday shows posting calories right on machines is perfectly feasible.
"This would be an important step forward," he said. "Currently, people don't think about calories when they go up to a vending machine. Having the calories right on the button will help them make choices."
The American Beverage Association, which represents Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., said the calorie counts will be on the buttons of the machines, which will also feature small decals reminding the thirsty that they can choose a low-calorie drink.
Sure, sounds great! Post 'em everywhere. Write them upon the sky in fluorescent dragon farts. Hire a mustachioed carnival barker to hide in a crate next to every self-serve soda fountain and then jump out and yell, "HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP" every time someone presses the Hi-C lever. GO FOR IT. I'm pro. Similarly, I do not give a FUCK about the soda ban.
I don't have any data on whether or not posted calorie counts actually affect people's choices (although, anecdotally, they definitely change mine), but they certainly can't hurt. And I'd just like to say, real quick, to all the people who think that fat people are against fat-shaming because we're sitting in basements clutching jugs of syrup with sticky fists, terrified that the meanies are going to take our corn juice away, that no fat people are protesting posted calorie counts. Because calorie counts attack the problem, not the victims of the problem. Education is great. Health is great. Stigma is not. Anyway, go nuts.