Could Legal Bans On Soda Sizes Actually Backfire?
LOS ANGELES, April 17, 2013
(Off The Menu)
– Will a soda ban work?
Will New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort to limit soda and other sugary beverage cup sizes to 16 ounces at restaurants and other establishments influence people to consume lower amounts?
Honestly, I’m on the fence. Some researchers, however, are adamant that not only will such bans not work, but will actually backfire.
According to a study conducted by psychologists from the University of California at San Diego, such bans would prompt beverage makers to try tactics such as selling sodas in smaller packages and bundling them as a single unit, which would actually encourage consumers to buy more soda than if the ban hadn’t been in effect.
Now would beverage makers try such tactics to counter the ban? Sure, according to the study, pointing out that these bundles would mean more revenue, which would likely offset the costs of having to produce more cups, lids and straws to hold these extra drinks.
Now I can’t predict the future, but if such a soda ban like New York City’s is ever allowed to go into effect, you have to assume the following:
Beverage makers will do something. They’re not going to just stand idly by and watch profits fade away.
Consumers used to drinking large quantities of soda won’t just automatically start drinking healthier alternatives such as bottled water. They’ll either try to find cheaper sugary drinks or just pay more.
Any ban’s success will be limited because of free refills at restaurants and other establishments such as movie theaters. If it’s free, people will drink more to get their fill.
How will this all play out?
First let’s see if a ban is ever actually allowed to take effect.
Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for IndustryIntel. He doesn’t know if a soda ban will work, but he does know that consumers and beverage makers won’t just sit on their butts if forced to deal with smaller sizes. He can be reached at email@example.com
Industry Intelligence will be hosting an exclusive and free i2live webinar entitled: "Market themes for the future of beverages" on Sept. 11 at 11 a.m. PT/ 2 p.m. ET. Registration here
Related News: this box contains exclusive content that is accessible only to Industry Intelligence subscribers. Click a link to learn more.
- US Senator Bernie Sanders tells soft drink industry to stop using his name in ads fighting proposed soda taxes in the San Francisco Bay Area, saying that too much sugar is a serious health problem
- South African authorities propose to add pure fruit juices to the list of drinks expected to face a 20% sugar tax beginning in April 2017
- Ontario proposes regulation that would force Nestle to wait two years before it can test a well it purchased in Wellington Centre; regulations would impose moratorium on issuing water-taking permits for operations that take groundwater to bottle and sell
- Illinois' Cook County proposes budget that include a US$0.01/oz. tax on sugary beverages, including carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks; fruit juices not included; tax expected to raise US$74M
- Environmentalists urging Ontario government to deny Nestle a water-taking permit at a well it purchased that's also wanted by Centre Wellington, a small but fast-growing community about 100 kilometers west of Toronto