American Beverage Association

Sip & Savor - Recent Posts

Celebrating our National Parks

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service and across the country people celebrated some of our nation’s most treasured lands in various ways. The National Parks Service, which is responsible of the protection and preservation of over 400 of our country’s greatest landmarks, was established in 1916 and since then and has been a great way for Americans to enjoy the great outdoors.

Ensuring that these parks are well preserved is no easy task. And as an industry that is doing our part to protect our planet and its resources we understand the importance of preserving these special places that Americans love and enjoy for another 100 years and many more after that. For example, across the entire beverage industry supply chain, from factory to vending machine, we’re reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making operations more energy efficient.

As we enter they last few weeks of summer, now is the perfect time to celebrate these national treasures. Click here to find a park near you and share your pictures on Twitter and Facebook using #NPS100!


Celebrating John Shaw Day

America’s leading beverage companies have a history of being committed to their communities, locally and globally. In fact, last week we wrote about Fortune naming both The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo as companies working to “Change The World.” Giving back is a part of our culture, right down to the individual. John Shaw, based in North Carolina, is one example of how an individual can make a big impact in their community.

Tomorrow at Appalachian State University and across the Watauga region “John Shaw Day” will be celebrated in honor of the man’s work to make a difference in his community. In the Watauga Democrat article about “John Shaw Day” they share that Shaw is in “his 14th year as the beloved “Pepsi Man” on campus… [and] has devoted the last 16-plus years to the company that is recognizing him, along with the ASU community and beyond.”

Shaw is active in the Appalachian community, volunteering for a number of philanthropic events and groups. He participates in the annual Polar Plunge, a local fundraising event, and speaks to campus and community groups to raise awareness around the event. He also takes part in an annual event in support of Special Olympic athletes who live in Watauga County.

When speaking about his efforts to give back Shaw simply said “Every new day you wake up is a new opportunity to do something for someone else…I want to be the best at what I do. I am not just representing myself, but I also represent Pepsi, ASU and the community. Whatever I do, I want to do it to the best of my ability.”

We here at Sip & Savor raise a beverage to Shaw and all of his wonderful work.

Read more about John Shaw and his work in the mountains of North Carolina here.


The Evidence is Clear

The evidence shows that taxes singling out one item in the grocery cart do not make people healthier, yet some continue to promote taxes as the silver bullet to public health challenges. In a letter to the editor published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, William Swann, counsel for the West Virginia Beverage Association, knocks down claims that taxes will lead to better health.

Swann points out that “federal data shows obesity rates are on the rise while soda consumption is at a 30-year low.” It defies logic, then, to suggest that soda is driving obesity when the less we drink the more obese we get.

One need to look no further than West Virginia to see that soda taxes don’t work, says Swann. “We tax the beverage consumption of our citizens but we remain one of the unhealthiest states in the nation”

And Mexico has seen similar results from its tax, where Swann reports the “tax led to a miniscule per-person reduction of 6 calories per day, an amount not measurable on a bathroom scale.”

While there are no upsides to be found when it comes to taxes, there are plenty downsides for small businesses and consumers. “Taxes on common grocery store items like beverages disproportionately impact local businesses and low-income families,” explains Swann.

Swann says there’s a better way to go about improving public health and it starts with education. “Instead of advocating for a measure that will not improve public health and will raise food prices on working families, we should seek to provide consumers with information on how to best maintain a balanced diet and give them the food and beverage choices to do so.”

To learn more about why soda taxes are a bad idea, visit the Truth About Beverage Taxes.


Community Level Support

America’s beverage companies are committed to being a part of real and lasting solutions to societal challenges such as obesity. One of the ways they do this is by partnering with groups like the U.S. Conference of Mayors on programs that make a lasting impact on communities across America.

America’s mayors are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of their citizens and improving their communities. That is why The American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (ABFHA) has partnered with the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) to support community level efforts through the Childhood Obesity Prevention Awards. These awards help fund programs in cities that seek to reduce childhood obesity. Winning programs have promoted consumption of fruits and vegetables, encouraged physical activity and addressed the problems of food deserts, among other creative ideas.

Over the course of their six year partnership, USCM, ABFHA and the American Beverage Association will award more than $2.6 million to cities nationwide. In 2016 alone, six cities received $445,000 in grants.

Think your city is a candidate for an award? Encourage your mayor to apply for the 2017 Childhood Obesity Prevention Grants Program by August 31.

To view the 2016 award winners and learn more about the Childhood Obesity Awards program, visit http://www.usmayors.org/childhoodobesity/.


Working to “Change the World”

America’s beverage companies are doing their part when it comes to tackling some of the biggest challenges that affect people across the globe. From public health issues like obesity and diabetes, to recycling and reducing our carbon footprint, we aim to have a positive impact on communities both in the United States and around the world.

Last week, Fortune named both The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo as companies that are taking on some of society’s most pressing challenges in an effort to “Change the World.” It is these companies, along with many others, that realize that even though working on solutions to complex issues is not always easy, it is in the best interest of consumers and ultimately business.

For example, when it comes to conserving water, one of our planet’s most valuable resources, America’s beverage companies have been able to find innovative ways to reduce our water use per-unit by fourteen percent over five years, while at the same time increasing production by nearly 20 percent.

And our member companies realize the importance of working together with the government and others to have a real and lasting impact on some of our world’s most complex issues, such as obesity. That’s why Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper and Pepsi are working to reduce calories and sugar in the American diet along with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation as part of our Balance Calories Initiative.

To learn more about how America’s beverage companies are leading, visit DeliveringChoices.org.


Small-Business Owner Speaks Out

We’ve said it time and time again: beverage taxes are regressive and detrimental to small businesses. Grocery bills for working families would be more expensive and small-business owners will lose income or hike prices on their customers.

According to an article in the Bay City News in Oakland, Calif., Abdul Taleb, a small-business owner in Oakland, said the cost of a proposed tax of 1 cent per ounce on soft drinks would force him to raise prices on every item in his store, not just beverages. That would hurt his customers.

Taleb is not alone in pointing out the negatives of soda taxes. The proposed tax is opposed by more than 280 storeowners, all of whom would have to take similar action to stay afloat.

Lawmakers should find other ways to solve budget issues than by adding to the tax burdens of families and small-business owners. These taxes cost jobs, threaten the livelihoods of small-businesspeople and hit lower-income families the hardest.


A Sugar Tax Will Hurt Businesses and Jobs

Sounding like a broken record, a loud group of public health activists and law makers continue to push for discriminatory and harmful taxes that do nothing to improve public health.

According to an independent study by Oxford Economics commissioned by The Beverage Association of South Africa, the proposed sugar tax in South Africa could cost 60,000-70,000 workers their jobs. About 60 percent of the jobs lost would be direct, upstream jobs, says the report.

Internationally, tax research has shown that taxes on common grocery items do not work. In Mexico, a 1 peso per liter tax on sugar-sweetened beverages was mostly paid by Mexico’s poorest families and it was a factor in the closure of more than 30,000 mom and pop stores while doing nothing to improve public health outcomes.  In Denmark, a tax on saturated fat failed and the government scrapped the tax only a year later. The European Commission determined in 2014 that taxes on targeted nutrients such as sugar and sodium had no discernible effect on public health.

No matter how you spin in, you just can’t tax your way to better health. Instead, these taxes hurt small businesses and harm those who can least afford it.

To learn more about why taxes don’t make people healthier, visit YourCartYourChoice.com.


The Definition of What?

The debate around beverage taxes reminds us of Einstein’s definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Taxes on beverages do not improve public health and they have been shown to have no effect on obesity.

In a recent letter to the editor in Irish Times, Kevin McPartlan, Director of the Irish Beverage Council, finds himself having to restate these facts – “Obesity is a complex challenge … It will not be solved by knee-jerk, quick-fix solutions such as taxation.”

Taxes have been shown not work across the globe – in Mexico the tax has an impact on families’ wallets but “no detectable impact on the body mass index (BMI), according to the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México.” Denmark repealed its tax after finding it to be ineffective and economically costly. Here in the United States, Arkansas and West Virginia, places with longstanding beverage taxes, consistently rank as two of the most obese states in the nation. So why do activists continue to push an them?

We can make real, lasting impact on these public health challenges through education and public-private partnerships. McPartlan closes his letter saying, “the Government should avoid a sugar tax and work with us to provide real and evidence-based solutions.”

Read McPartlan’s full Letter to the Editor here.


An Industry With A History of Leadership

America’s beverage companies have been dedicated for years to reducing calories from beverages across the country, and particularly in our schools. Over ten years ago, we launched our School Beverage Guidelines Initiative that voluntarily drove a more than 90 percent calorie reduction from beverages shipped to schools by our companies. They accomplished this by putting competition aside and working together to change the beverage landscape in schools throughout the nation.

Recently, ABA President and CEO Susan Neely said of the initiative, “There has been significant innovation in what is offered in the school environment, providing students and parents with more lower-calorie and smaller-portion choices than ever before — and this is what is happening in the broader marketplace as well.”

As Neely notes, our industry’s School Beverage Guidelines Initiative, is just one of the many ways our companies continue to drive consumers to reduce their beverage calories and maintain a balanced lifestyle. And we know that public, private partnerships play a key role in helping drive these changes.

That’s why in 2010 we launched our Clear on Calories Initiative in support of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program to bring consumers the clear calorie information they need to make the decisions that fit their lifestyle. And in 2014, we partnered with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation on the Balance Calories Initiative, working to reduce beverage calories in the American diet by 20 percent by 2025.

It is through partnerships like these that we will have a meaningful and lasting impact on issues such as obesity and diabetes.

As Neely puts it, “We are excited to see what the future has in store for our industry and our consumers.”


Cutting through the Noise

In today’s digital age we are inundated with so-called expert health information from every direction – articles, blogs and social media to name a few. It can be hard to decipher what is fact and what is fiction. Like many health “advice” columns, a recent article published in the New York Post contains plenty of innuendo in lieu of facts.

One such claim is that low- and no-calorie beverages make you fat. Seems strange that a product containing zero calories would cause you to gain weight, right? According to Megan Meyer, Ph.D., of the International Food Information Council, “There is a large body of evidence that clearly outlines that LCS [low calorie sweeteners] are not associated with an increase in weight gain, but rather can be an effective tool in reducing calorie intake, resulting in weight loss.” Even Barry Popkin, Ph.D., a vocal critic of the beverage industry who has studied the issue says, “none of the studies make a convincing case that no-calorie sodas contribute to weight gain.”

The Post article also makes erroneous claims about bottled water. Millions of Americans drink water to stay hydrated as the body requires thanks to the convenience, quality and taste of bottled water. This is a good thing.

The environmental impact of bottled water is minimal and is continuously improving. Plastic water bottles are 100 percent recyclable and account for less than one-third of 1 percent of all waste produced in the United States. The amount of water used for bottled water in the United States is very small – less than 0.02 percent of the total groundwater withdrawn each year. And the oil used to produce water bottles account for 4/100ths of 1 percent of America’s oil consumption. Still, America’s beverage companies are constantly working to reduce the material in their packaging, become more energy efficient and improve recycling rates. These efforts are good for the environment and for business.

Have other questions about non-alcoholic beverages and their ingredients? Get the facts at http://www.letsclearitup.org/