The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), other advocacy groups and local public health officials have sent letters to the CEOs of supermarkets and pharmacies urging them to “encourage customers to purchase healthier, no- and low-calorie drinks in place of higher calorie sugar drinks to improve customers’ health, as well as boost [their] company’s reputation for social responsibility and caring for the health of its customers.”

The letters cite scientific studies purportedly demonstrating that “sugar drinks (carbonated or not) are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic,” “the single largest source of calories in many Americans’ diets,” and “the only food or beverage that has been directly linked to obesity.”

“With supermarkets [and pharmacies] selling the lion’s share of sugar drinks, your company and others clearly have an opportunity to promote your customers’ health by encouraging customers to switch from high-calorie to low-calorie drinks,” the letters assert. “Possibilities include limiting sugar drinks in check-out aisles, posting signs in the soft-drink aisle to encourage people to switch to drinks with few or no calories, featuring primarily non- and low-sugar soft drinks at end caps and in ‘spectacular’ displays, giving greater prominence to lower-calorie drinks in…advertising, and adjusting prices to encourage the purchase of non-and low-caloric drinks.” See CSPI News Release, April 10, 2013.