- Coca-Cola Co. has responded to negative press generated by a report from The New York Times, which involved Coca-Cola's financial backing of a research group that said exercise, not diet, was integral to fighting obesity.
- Coca-Cola chief technical officer Ed Hays said in a USA Today column that the article "created confusion about our support of research and non-profit organizations, stating we want people to think that only exercise matters and not diet — but nothing could be further from the truth. We have always operated under the fact that a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise are key ingredients for a healthy lifestyle."
- Hays said the company would be more transparent about research funding in the future. He also pointed to recent developments thanks to funded research, including the stevia research that brought Coca-Cola Life to market and the research that led to Coca-Cola's 100% plant-based bottle and mini-can that encourages portion control.
When company-funded research claims something as controversial as valuing exercise over diet, which can financially benefit the company, speculation in the media and by health experts arises, often in a negative light.
A promise of better transparency is one way Coca-Cola can improve the situation, as consumers more than ever are demanding transparency of food and beverage companies. But the fact remains that someone will often question the implications of health claims made by researchers funded by major corporations, and that is a battle Coca-Cola and other companies continuously will have to fight.