Coca-Cola (KO) And Pepsi (PEP) Spent Millons On Something Very Questionable

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The fact that soda isn’t healthy is not some new development. However, it seems like a major conflict of interest when health organizations take money from two of the biggest soda companies in the word; Pepsi and Coca-Cola.’

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, at least 96 health organizations received funding from either one or both companies between 2011 and 2015.

Michael B. Siegel, M.D., co-study author and a professor in the department of community health sciences at the BU School of Public Health, told Yahoo Beauty, “While previous research has provided anecdotal evidence of soda company sponsorship of health and medical organizations, our objective was to conduct a systematic investigation into these sponsorships.”

What’s even more surprising is that the findings from investigators at Boston University (BU), reveal that The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo sponsored these health organizations during the same five-year period when both soda companies were lobbying against more than 25 public health bills. These health bills were intended to reduce soda consumption or improve nutrition.

So how much did each company spend? Between the years 2011 and 2014, the Coca-Cola Company spent on average $6 million per year, while PepsiCo spent $3 million per year.

In 2009, they spent even more. Coca-Cola spent $9.4 million while PepsiCo spent $9.5 million, and even the American Beverage Association spent $18.9 million.

Siegel and his research colleague Daniel Aaron, a medical student at the BU School of Medicine, were both very surprised by two things.

“First was the sheer extent of soda company sponsorship of medical and public health organizations in the U.S.,” he commented. “Second, we were very surprised to find that several organizations whose direct mission is to fight obesity were taking money from soda companies.”

Siegel has also stated, “How could the American Diabetes Association possibly take money from a soda company when its primary mission is supposed to be to fight diabetes and we know that 95 percent of Type 2 diabetes is attributable to obesity or overweight?”

“We do not expect the food industry to change its practices because sponsorship is a marketing activity and these companies have every right to market their products,” Siegel has also said.

“What needs to change is health groups agreeing to take this money and therefore act as pawns in these corporate marketing practices.”

Disclaimer: We have no position in PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP) nor The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO) and have not been compensated for this article. ‘