Picture this: You’re on the queue at the stop waiting for the bus to arrive. You decide to make a call to your date to say you may be running late when you’re approached by an enthusiastic camera crew led by a young lady with a radiant smile. What’s going on here?

Fear not, you’ve just been randomly selected from the crowd for a chance to win an instant prize in an ongoing promo, if you would just answer one simple question: where and when did the global phenomenon that is Coca-Cola begin? You’re flustered for a moment before you realise you’re carrying an internet-enabled mobile device in your hand. May I?  

Of course, you may. After all, information is available everywhere thanks to the massive advances that have been made in the field of Information and Communication Technology in the last few decades. New media (internet) and social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) have literally relegated traditional media (newspapers, magazines) to the shadows as they can do something the traditional isn’t able to: provide real-time news and information.

While this allows for access to near-limitless data, it still comes with a limitation that afflicts information from traditional sources: not all information is factual. So, even though our world now practically runs on technology, every now and then, for the sake of the effective communication of facts, a good old, traditional ‘Face-to-Face’ is just what the doctor prescribes.

The latest Workshop organised by Coca-Cola Nigeria for health writers turned out to be an eye-opening and stimulating 3-way conversation between health and nutrition experts, health journalists and the beverage giant.

The main event was preceded by a guided tour of the Nigerian Bottling Company Plant in Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos where members of the media witnessed the exacting standards under which Coke’s range of beverages are packaged.

 

The sixth in its series, this year’s forum featured a major presentation by noted Consultant Nutritionist and Dietician, Dr. Chika Ndiokwelu titled Adequate Nutrition and Lifestyle: Essential for Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

Ndiokwelu, who is the Country Representative of the International Confederation of Dietetic Associations, remarked that unhealthy eating habits, increasingly sedentary lifestyles and other risky behaviour such as tobacco and alcohol abuse have contributed to a frightening rise in the prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases across the globe. 

“As we speak, Cardiovascular and Chronic Respiratory Diseases, Cancer, Diabetes and other NCDs are responsible for 60% of deaths globally with 80% of these occurring in developing countries. And it is estimated that by the year 2030, 80% of deaths globally will be caused by NCDs,” she intimated.

While the situation is compounded for some individuals by predisposing genetic and environmental factors, Ndiokwelu assured that most NCDs and their symptoms can be reversed by appropriate modifications to dietary and lifestyle habits.

A thorough, well-researched and sobering affair, the presentation was followed by an interactive session involving the participating journalists and a panel comprising the invited experts, a representative of the media and two from Coca-Cola.

Dr. Ndiokwelu fielded a fair few questions on nursing mothers, their babies and the miracle of breast milk. There were also enquiries on various aspects of Nutrition. The Dialogue was however sparked into new life when panelist and moderator, Dr. Kemi Odukoya of the Department of Community Health, College of Medicine at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) urged the Journalists and the Coke people present to raise more specific matters pertaining to the Brand and the public.

And the gloves were off! Journalist after journalist voiced some alleged public views of the Coca-Cola Brand, in particular and many turned out to be misperceptions.

Fortunately, Fred Chiazor, the Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Manager for Coca-Cola East and West Africa and a member of the day’s panel, was on hand to address them and his assertions were mostly corroborated by the experts. In summary: “Coke has been around for almost 130 years and in all this time, has not been linked to any individual’s death. The drink has remained the same since and has refreshed generations across the globe and like other foods and drinks, will nourish and not harm an individual if consumed in a moderate and balanced manner. Also, variants like Diet Coke and Coke Zero are available for persons watching their calorie intake.”   

 The Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Clem Ugorji, appealed to the members of the Press to always check for the Source and veracity of any news 

and information before publication as this would in the best interests of all parties involved. “Coca-Cola has a long history founded on trust, heritage and quality. Our success is tied to the well-being of our public and we demonstrate this with our many community-centered initiatives. And fora like this further demonstrate the Coca-Cola Brand’s commitment to promoting dialogue with key stakeholders to achieve understanding and balanced communication on consumer health issues.”

Information is everywhere but effective communication is better built around facts and actively pushing towards the truth.

*Coca-Cola was invented by American Pharmacist, John Pemberton, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, in 1886.

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About Coca Cola Nigeria Limited

Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, an active citizen of the community and one of the most respected companies in Nigeria, is a subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company, the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands.  Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our Company's portfolio includes 20 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Vitamin Water, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks.

Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of more than 1.9 billion servings a day.  With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 System associates.  

 

 

 

For media enquiries, please contact:

Kenneth Eze

Kenneth.eze@quadrantcompany.com 

08023419034, 08097368557