Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have pledged to stop marketing to under-12 year olds by the end of the year, as a result of growing concerns over child obesity. The two companies are set to be the first international drinks producers to sign up to a new marketing code to be launched by the International Council of Beverage Associations later today. Following pressure by the World Health Assembly, which has been calling on the food and drink industry to respond to rising obesity among young people, the US drink giants are expected to announce plans to implement the code worldwide by the end of 2008. Groups in the sector have started to address the obesity issue in fear of becoming as demonised as the tobacco industry, with companies in the EU already having introduced voluntary pledges. This code, however, is set to be the largest response on an international scale, with other drinks producers likely to join force. Alain Beaumont, secretary-general of the group representing European soft drinks companies, said: “As parents and grandparents ourselves, we recognise that children may be more susceptible to marketing campaigns and may not always be able to make the right dietary choices for themselves.”