Philadelphia’s Soda Tax Has Slashed Sales In Half

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By Cooking Panda

Some cities are proposing heavy sales taxes on sugary soda beverages, and Philadelphia’s soda sales are seeing a huge cut in profits after implementation.

The tax was implemented in Philadelphia and in other select cities January of 2017, despite outrage from an already declining soda industry. Some said that the tax went against the constitution in that it “violates the Pennsylvania constitutional requirement of uniformity of taxation and because local government doesn’t have the power to impose a sales tax when the Pennsylvania legislature has already imposed a sales tax.”

In addition, 58 percent of Philadelphia voters were reportedly against implementation of the tax in the first place. However, Philadelphia moved forward with it, and the results for the soda company have probably been just as devastating as they had initially imagined.

Bloomberg Markets reports that although the tax is only 6 weeks old, the sales of soda beverages have dropped as much as 50 percent. One of Philadelphia’s local distributors of Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Sunkist, A&W Root Beer, Arizona Iced Tea and Vita Coco reported a drop of 45 percent when compared to sales from the first five weeks of 2016.

Jeff Brown, CEO of Philadelphia-based Brown’s Super Stores, expressed that “In 30 years of business, there’s never been a circumstance in which we’ve ever had a sales decline of any significant amount. I would describe the impact as nothing less than devastating.”

The tax amounts to 1.5 cents per ounce on sweetened beverages, which almost doubles the cost of 12 packs of soda and two-liter bottles. While the soda industry continues to take these kinds of hits, other cities are following suit on the tax, which is said to be going toward public schools. Some of those cities include: San Francisco and Oakland, California, Boulder, Colorado, and Cook County, Illinois (where Chicago is located).

If soda sales tanked that much in only six weeks in Philadelphia, there’s no telling the damage these companies could take if more and more cities continue to impose this tax. What will it mean for the future of soda? Perhaps the industry will have to come up with something healthy and new.

Source: Bloomberg Markets / Photo Credit: Italian Sandwich Deli/Instagram

Tags: Philadelphia, soda, Soda tax, Sugary Beverages
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France Is Banning Free Refills On Sugary Drinks

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By Cooking Panda

In a bid to reduce obesity in France, a new law officially prohibits spaces catering to the public and restaurants from offering free refills on sugary drinks to customers.

The new law specifically is going after soft drinks, which also includes drinks that contain loads of sugar or sweeteners, such as sports drinks. Additionally, BBC reports that all of those self-service soda-pop fountains, which seem to be a staple in many eateries and family-geared restaurants, will have a soft drinks tax imposed on them in 2018.

If you take a look at this Eurostat survey from 2014, it shows that 15.3 percent of France’s adults are considered obese, which is just below the average of 15.9 percent across the EU as a whole. While that is considerably lower than the 36.5 percent obesity rate that was reported for the U.S., it is still a significant amount.

The new French law is in line with the World Health Organization’s recommendation that urged countries around the world to raise taxes by 20 percent on drinks laden with sugar and sweeteners, according to the BBC. WHO recommends that cutting out sugary drinks could help people fight against obesity and health issues.

This new legislation actually comes five years after France had already passed a tax on soft drinks, so perhaps this new all-you-can-drink ban won’t come as a big shock to many of its citizens.

The U.S., however, has tried to pass similar soda taxes in the past, an attempt that has often been met with negative responses ranging from skepticism to downright outrage from consumers and businesses alike who just can’t seem to give up the sugar-bombs.

What do you think of the soda ban? Would you be willing to give up your favorite soda in favor of a potentially healthier and longer life? Let us know!

Sources: BBC, Eurostat / Photo Credit: Alexis Huang/Instagram

Tags: fountain drinks, france, obesity, Soda tax, sugar ban
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Do You Think Mexico’s Junk-Food Tax Is Working?

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By Cooking Panda

Mexico has seen a slight reduction in high-calorie snack purchases since the country implemented a junk-food tax in 2014, but it’s unclear whether overall public health has improved.

“Slight” is right: The average reduction comes out to only 5.1 percent, with higher-income households showing no change in food shopping habits, according to a study published in online journal PLOS-Medicine. 

Poorer households bought 10.2 percent less junk food, and medium-income households bought 5.8 percent less.

The results come from a study of bar code analyses of consumer tracking data (most high-tech sentence I’ve ever written) by PLOS-Medicine.

What the study couldn’t catch are purchases of cheap and high-calorie street foods, which are extremely popular in the country.

It’s unclear, then, whether the decrease of in-store purchases of junk food means that families are eating healthier or that they’re simply buying more junk food from street vendors.

Critics of the tax believe the higher prices aren’t causing healthier eating; they say households are buying street foods that are often made worse than name-brand choices with extra sugar and salt.

Nutritionist Julieta Ponce from the Center for Dietary Orientation said the study prompts a much-needed debate in Mexico, one of the most obese countries in the world, about making better-quality food a norm.

“Obesity and adverse metabolic effects are also the result of the loss of the traditional diet, not just the consumption of junk food,” Ponce said, according to The New York Times. “At the moment, Mexico lacks a broader policy on eating well.”

The study’s results align with findings that another Mexican tax on sodas reduced certain soft-drink purchases by 6 percent. Many U.S. cities, such as Philadelphia, are implementing similar ideas.

Sources: The New York Times, PLOS-Medicine / Photo credit: Robyn Lee via Serious Eats

Tags: junk food tax, Mexico, Soda tax
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The Soda Industry Is Fighting Back On Philadelphia’s Soda Tax

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By Cooking Panda

In the midst of an America where politics is increasingly ruled by lobbyists and big corporate interests, few people will be shocked to learn that the soda industry has vowed to fight Philadelphia’s new soda tax.

The tax, which was passed last Thursday by a vote of 13-4, will add 1.5 cents per ounce to the cost of most sugared and diet beverages sold in Philadelphia. Reports from Mayor Jim Kenney’s office suggest that revenue from the new measure will go towards funding Philadelphia’s public schools, and is expected to amount to $91 million each year.

According to FoodNavigator-USA, however, the American Beverage Association retained the services of Kline & Specter law firm to fight the soda tax shortly after it was passed. Shanin Specter, a founding partner at the firm, says, “This tax is illegal because it violates the Pennsylvania constitutional requirement of uniformity of taxation and because a local government doesn’t have the power to impose a sales tax when the Pennsylvania legislature already has imposed a sales tax.”

In addition to citing legal reasons to repeal the law, the soda industry association also highlighted the tax’s waning popular support among Philadelphia residents. While only 44 percent of voters opposed the measure three months ago, a recent poll suggests that 58 percent of voters are now in opposition to the soda tax. It should be noted, however, that the American Beverage Association was responsible for commissioning the more recent poll.

Despite the opposition, many individuals and organizations are still hailing the new soda tax as landmark legislation, and expect the measure to influence policy nationwide. According to Quartz, Philadelphia’s soda tax “is proof that taxes on sugary drinks can win substantial support outside super-liberal enclaves.”

Keep your eyes and ears open in the coming days to see whether or not the soda industry will be able to challenge the law, and what the outcome could potentially mean for the rest of the country.

Sources: FoodNavigator-USA, Quartz / Photo credit: Alamy via The Telegraph

Tags: American Beverage Association, Philadelphia, Soda Industry, Soda tax
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