Friday, June 01, 2012

We are Winning the Soda War

This week New York Mayor Bloomberg proposed limiting the size of sugary beverages.  This is his latest tactic in reducing consumption of these beverages.  Earlier, he proposed a soda tax.  He also proposed prohibiting SNAP (food stamp) participants from purchasing sodas with government money.  Both of these measures failed because he needed outside approval (i.e. the Stata or Federal government).

His legal team indicates that no outside approvals are needed for this measure.  They have authority under the restaurant laws in New York.  I still think it is likely that the soda and restaurant industries will sue the city.  (McDonald's makes most of their money from soda.)

It would be great if this measure went through.  This intervention is just changing the default size of the drinks, a clear behavioral economic intervention.  People can still buy 2 or 3 or 5 drinks if they want.  It might even be the same price.  The freedom of choice is still there.

The best news from all of this is that we are winning the war on soda.  The industry is becoming defensive.  All of the publicity is giving soda a bad rap.  That's the purpose.  The soda industry spends billions of dollars a year marketing beverages to kids.  All of this negative media around soda gives us a chance to fight against that marketing.

Thank you Mayor for leading us in this war.
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