Well, that didn’t take long. After being the first US municipality to limit the size of soft drinks sold in various venues, The city of New York is now being sued by the American Beverage Association and other groups.
As you may recall, the sale of sugary beverages in containers larger than 16 oz in theaters, restaurants, and street carts will be banned starting early 2013. People can buy as many 16 oz cups of soda as they want. The logic of this public health policy move is to make the default choice for consumers a more healthy one.
Beverage companies and many consumers are fiercely opposed to this type of regulation, citing “Nanny State”. While some consumers are worried about regulations such as these constricting their personal freedoms, the soft drink industry is making a pure financial calculation. Selling sugar water is profitable. Selling more of it is even more profitable.
Industry is worried about the snowball effect New York’s move will have on other areas of the country, and rightfully so. According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg
“Simply by proposing limits on sugary drinks, New York City pushed the issue of obesity – and the impact of sugary beverages – onto the national stage.”
Unfortunately, sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet today. Americans are indirectly paying the price for cheap drinks, in the form of crazy high healthcare costs that are still growing each year. We’re spending $170 billion annually to treat preventable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension!
New York’s regulation can help take a small dent out of that – the regulation keeps people from drinking extra calories without thinking, according to proponents. Drinking a soda daily, the switch from a 20 fl oz bottle to a 16 oz bottle saves you almost 15,000 calories a year – about 4 pounds of body weight!
According to a spokesperson for New York’s Mayor Bloomberg:
“This predictable, yet baseless, lawsuit fortunately will help put an even greater spotlight on the obesity epidemic”
We think New York took a brave step here. What other creative solutions would you propose to really help consumers decrease their sugary beverage intake?