Media Release
18 February 2013

Beverage industry responds to release of Australian Dietary Guidelines
The Australian Beverages Council has today responded to the release of the revised Australian Dietary Guidelines.
Ahead of this release the Beverages Council actively consulted with key health stakeholders during the public consultation period, participating in more than 20 meetings across Australia.

“In these meetings the Beverages Council expressed serious concerns regarding the process adopted and the assessment of evidence used in the Guidelines’ development. We also stressed the importance for the Guidelines to emphasise the important need in achieving energy balance – ensuring appropriate energy intake across the diet and regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight” said the Council’s CEO, Mr Geoff Parker.

The Beverages Council is pleased to note the first and highest priority guideline1 relates to energy balance – ‘To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs.’

“People consume many different foods and beverages and quite simply, all kilojoules count – it is the total diet, or overall pattern of food and beverages eaten that should be the focus of a healthy lifestyle. Over the years the Australian beverages industry has been committed in doing its part to help consumers make appropriate choices through the provision of a greater range of beverages with a wide array of kilojoules and portion size options,” added Mr Parker.

During the Beverages Council’s consultation process it highlighted serious concerns with the scientific review adopted to inform the revision of the Guidelines, specifically in relation to sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain including:

• Incomplete literature review – less than half (14 out of 31) of published papers in the time frame were included (2003 – April 2009 and additional evidence from May 2009 – December 2010);

• Inconsistent findings – within the papers that were included as part of the review there were a number of inconsistent findings that do not support “strengthened evidence” for a change in Guideline recommendations.
Importantly, the Beverages Council recommended waiting until current data on dietary intake, weight status and physical activity levels are released from the Government’s Australian Health Survey, expected later this year, to be used as a basis for the new Guidelines instead of the 17 year old dietary behaviour data, which was used. The Beverages Council views this as a missed opportunity to provide meaningful dietary advice for all Australians based on current dietary and physical activity behaviour.

“In relation to Guideline 3c2, we believe this unfairly targets one category of the food supply that contributes a relatively small and declining proportion of total energy intake. No one single food or
beverage is responsible for people being overweight. The Australian beverages industry provides a range of products that can be part of an active, healthy lifestyle including low and no-kilojoule beverages, and regular beverages in smaller portion sizes to help consumers who want to reduce kilojoules they consume from beverages.

“The industry is committed to providing a variety of hydration options for every occasion and every need. All of our beverages can be enjoyed as part of an active, healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced and nutritious diet and regular physical activity,” Mr Parker concluded.

About the Australian Beverages Council:

The Australian Beverages Council (the Beverages Council) is the peak body representing the $7 billion non-alcoholic beverage industry. In Australia, the non-alcoholic refreshment beverage industry employs over 10,000 Australians, and is a major contributor to the domestic economy through the provision and production of an extensive and innovative range of beverages. This, in turn, supports a large number of Australian producers, manufacturers and large and small businesses in addition to providing significant support and funding to community organisations.

The Beverages Council provides a single, united industry voice to a range of stakeholders including government, non-government organisations, media and general public. Membership of the Beverages Council comprises over 95% of the non-alcoholic industry‘s production volume, and is comprised of multi-national companies and small and medium businesses.

The Beverages Council strongly supports the development of dietary guidelines that are based on the preponderance of available scientific evidence. We are committed to making a positive contribution and constructively helping in Australia‘s fight against diet-related chronic diseases
and our members fully accept their roles in helping address this challenge.

Media contact:
Geoff Parker – Chief Executive Officer, Australian Beverages Council
0407 646 195

1Guideline 1: To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy need, Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013
2 Guideline 3c: Limit intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars such as confectionary, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy and sports drinks, Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013