(Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co said it has spent almost $120 million on funding scientific research, a disclosure that comes at a time when the company is facing criticism for trying to downplay the role of sugary drinks in the spread of obesity.
The company also launched a website on Tuesday to update details about its research efforts and the experts it has worked with in the past five years.
The move follows a New York Times report in August that the cola maker was funding scientists who claim Americans are overly fixated on how much they eat and drink and not paying enough attention to exercise. (nyti.ms/1UyAMUG)
U.S. sales of carbonated soft drinks have been declining for nearly a decade due to increasing public backlash against full-calorie as well as diet sodas.
There have also been efforts to tax sugary drinks, remove them from schools and stop companies from marketing them to children.
“We understand that our efforts in dealing with the obesity epidemic are not seen as credible, so we must – and want to – do better,” said Sandy Douglas, president, Coca-Cola North America.
“Today’s disclosures mark an important first step toward being a more effective partner against obesity.”
Reporting by Amrutha Penumudi in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty