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ATLANTA -- Coca-Cola and Pepsico are both revamping the nutrition labels on some of their most popular packages to show the total number of calories instead of just per-serving details, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The changes, announced by Coke on Friday morning and followed shortly by Pepsi, are voluntary moves based on earlier recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration.
With the new labels, consumers will no longer need to do their own math to figure out how many calories are contained in products like a 20-ounce bottle of Coke Classic or a small bag of Frito-Lay chips.
Kraft recently made a similar announcement about plans for modified nutrition labels on packages that contain more than one serving but are often consumed all at once.
Given the huge influence of Coke, Kraft and Pepsico, the changes could prompt other companies to follow. But the moves also have some potential pitfalls if consumers change their patterns after more easily seeing that a 20-ounce bottle of Coke has 250 calories.
Coke said the change, which involves the U.S. market only, will take effect in 2005. The company will show two different nutrition fact boxes on bottles -- one with details about 8-ounce servings and one for the entire bottle. Current FDA regulations call for nutrition information based on 8 ounces.
One important package won't be affected: Coke's 12-ounce cans. Those packages already show total calories and other nutrition information for the entire can.
Pepsico spokesman Dave DeCecco said the company will phase in the label changes over the next several months.