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New York City Mayor Bloomberg Has Already Won Soda War Despite Ban Overturn

LOS ANGELES, March 13, 2013 () – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed to fight a judge’s decision overturning the city’s ban on large sugary drinks at restaurants and other similar establishments. But what Bloomberg may not realize is this:

Bloomberg’s already won.

Yes, the food and beverage industry fought long and hard (and spent a good deal of money) fighting this ban, which was scheduled to take effect March 12. But ultimately, the judge’s decision on March 11 merely gave the industry a victory in one battle of what will be a very long war.

And it’s a war that food and beverage companies ultimately can’t win.

Look, companies like Kraft Foods, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola can spend all the money they want overturning every single ban or limitation of their products, and it won’t matter. New York City’s attempt to limit sugary beverages to 16 ounces, along with the subsequent legal fight and media attention that followed, put to the forefront the idea that such extra-large drinks at eateries and movie theaters aren’t necessary.

And as a result, one or both of the following two things will happen:

1) Consumers will take it upon themselves to start questioning whether they need so much soda when eating a Whopper or watching the latest “Avengers” movie.

2) Restaurants will take it upon themselves to limit the size of their soft-drink offerings, similar to when McDonald’s eliminated its super-size option six weeks after the release of the documentary “Super Size Me.”

And when one or both of those things happen, Bloomberg will finally realize:

He won this war the second he introduced the ban.

Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence Inc. He loves his large sodas at restaurants and movie theaters, but New York City’s proposed ban on such things is even making him think twice about whether he needs to drink so much Diet Coke in one sitting. He can be reached at n.barich@industryintel.com

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