American Beverage Association

Sip & Savor - Recent Posts

Why People See Through Soda Taxes

Politicians who try and slap taxes on common grocery items quickly learn that people see these regressive taxes for what they are – a government money grab that will harm jobs, threaten local businesses, and raise grocery prices. In an article from watchdog.org, a Philadelphia-area distributor channels the feelings of most Philadelphians about the soda tax their City Council recently approved.

According to the article, the distributor characterized the tax as “regressive, and will end up hitting lower-income consumers the hardest.”

He’s right. Low-income families spend a larger portion of their income on groceries than more affluent ones. So a tax like the one passed in Philadelphia that will hit more than 1,000 products will force low income people to spend an even larger portion of their limited budgets at the grocery store.

On top of that, people with the means to do so will travel outside the city to do their grocery shopping and avoid the tax. This means the greatest burden of the tax will fall on lower-income people, who aren’t able to travel outside the city to do their shopping.

The distributor also raised concerns that any tax that reaches into the grocery cart is a slippery slope. “The broader liberty question, the businessman said, is how far will the ‘it’s-good-for-you’ crowd go,” reported watchdog.org.

For these reasons and many others, soda taxes have proven to be unpopular in Philadelphia, and all over the country. A poll taken the week of the Philadelphia City Council vote approving the tax revealed that nearly 60 percent of Philadelphians opposed the tax. Similar tax proposals have been rejected by the city twice before.

As watchdog.org points out, “Cities across the country, most notably New York, have tried to adopt similar sugary beverage taxes, only to ultimately fail. Often, citizens have fought back, arguing the taxes are a government overreach.” In fact, soda taxes have been rejected 43 times across the nation since 2008.

Here’s to hoping politicians listen to the voices of their constituents saying they don’t want these taxes.


A Long History of Success

America’s non-alcoholic beverage industry has a long history rooted in communities large and small. Polar Beverages, one of our members, is a wonderful example of the history and impact our industry has had on America.

In a recent article, The Boston Globe tells Polar Beverages’ story, which starts in 1882 in Worchester, Mass. – “After ditching the whiskey business during Prohibition, the Crowleys bet on bubbles, creating a concoction for their Orange Dry in 1933 that remains a company stalwart.” Over 134-years later, they have dozens of flavors and lots of fizz.

The beverage industry plays an important role in the American economy, providing well-paying jobs and making generous charitable contributions in communities across the country. Polar Beverages is no exception. They employ 1,700 people at their plants and have certainly made a lasting impact on their community.

Read more about Polar Beverages here and check our member page to find out who else makes-up America’s leading beverage companies.


Three Reasons Why Americans Don’t Support Beverage Taxes

Taxes on common grocery store items are unpopular with the vast majority of Americans. Take Philly – nearly 60 percent of Philadelphians were against the grocery tax a week before the tax was passed by city council members looking to bulk-up their budget. Americans know that taxes singling out one item in the grocery cart are bad public policy.

  • They are regressive

Taxes on common grocery store items raise grocery bills for families, especially those who can least-afford the extra cost. In Mexico, where a one-peso-per-liter tax on sugar-sweetened beverages was implemented in 2014, 63.7% of the revenue raised came from lower-income families.

  • They hurt local business

Small businesses that rely in-part on beverage sales, like your local corner store or grocery store, operate on thin margins. They cannot afford the loss of sales that would result from a discriminatory tax. As they lose customers, they could be forced to lay off employees. Ultimately, a community may lose small businesses due to the tax.

  • They don’t work

For all the damage these taxes wreak on family budgets and small businesses, they don’t do anything to improve public health. Arkansas and West Virginia, places with longstanding beverage taxes, consistently rank as two of the most obese states in the nation. Additionally, federal data shows that there is no connection between soda consumption and rising rates of obesity or obesity-related diseases like diabetes. The obesity rate in America went up steadily (24 percent) from 2000-2014, while at the same time calories in the American diet from soda went down 39 percent.

The most effective way to encourage changes in behavior is education on leading a balanced lifestyle. For that reason, America’s beverage companies have committed to the single-largest effort by an industry to combat obesity, the Balance Calories Initiative. We’ve set an aggressive goal to reduce beverage calories in the American diet by 20 percent by 2025.

Short-sighted taxes divert us from real solutions to complex health challenges. Policies focused on education and collaboration are the better way forward.


Fairfax County, Va. Proposes Regressive “Meal Tax”

Taxes on foods and beverages are especially harmful because they impact lower income families, who already spend a higher percentage of their income on these items, the most. This is why we are scratching our heads at measure being proposed in Fairfax County, Va., to tax prepared foods.

The ballot measure proposes adding a 10 percent tax on every kind of meal at every kind of restaurant in the county. This burdensome tax would also be levied on prepared foods sold in grocery stores, convenience stores and coffee shops.

If passed, the tax will affect everyone in the county, but it will hit hardest families who are already struggling to make ends meet. And for many local businesses already operating on razor thin margins, the tax will cost them valuable time, money and resources. The government should tighten its own belt instead of reaching into the pockets of hardworking families and small businesses.

To learn more about the proposed tax visit No Fairfax Food Tax, and read more about why taxes on common grocery items are regressive at Americans for Food and Beverage Choice.


Stay Hydrated This Weekend!

The dog days of summer are upon us and this weekend is shaping up to be a scorcher in many regions of the country. While it’s always important to stay hydrated, it is even more critical on hot summer days.

Fortunately, America’s beverage companies offer a wide variety of beverage options to meet your needs for the day. Whether it’s a sports drink, a smaller portion size, water or a low- or no-calorie beverage, they’ve got something for everyone.

America’s beverage companies also make it easy to maintain your balance for the day when grabbing a drink on the go. They place clear calorie labels on every can, bottle and pack they produce and on vending machines.

Whether you’re playing sports outside or enjoying a relaxing pool day this weekend, remember to stay hydrated and safe!


Making Every Drop Count

America’s beverage companies are leaders in responsible water management. They have made it a priority to conserve water and to ensure what they use is clean and pure. In fact, as an industry we’ve reduced water usage by 14 percent per unit over five years, even as production has increased by 20 percent.

The beverage industry also works with groups like The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service and local water districts to restore and protect key watersheds across the U.S. These partnerships create real opportunities to ensure safe, clean and plentiful drinking water for all, not just for our products.

Water is one of our world’s most precious resources and we all must work together to make sure every drop counts. Find out more on InnovationNaturally.com.

 

 


An Industry of Firsts

Forty seven years ago today, American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. His famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” summed up the significance of the event.

Just as the first man walking on the moon was a uniquely American moment, America’s beverage companies represent a uniquely American industry that is full of innovative firsts.

In 2006, America’s beverage companies made a commitment to remove full-calorie soft drinks from all schools across the country and replace them with more lower-calorie and smaller-portion choices. As a result of this ambitious effort we slashed beverage calories in schools by more than 90 percent and successfully changed the beverage landscape in schools across the country. This voluntary step by the beverage industry later helped form the basis of the beverage component of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s regulations for foods and beverages sold in schools. Today, when you walk into a school, you will still see our commitment at work.

More than six years ago, America’s beverage companies partnered with First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative and began voluntarily placing calorie labels on the front of every can, bottle and pack we produce. We want our consumers to have clear, fact-based information at their fingertips so they can make the choice that’s best for them and their families. Since that time other industries have followed suit and consumers are better off because of it.

Recently, we have undertaken the most ambitious voluntary effort by an industry to help fight obesity with our Balance Calories Initiative. In partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, our companies are putting competition aside and working together on this bold, unprecedented initiative to cut calories and sugar intake in the American diet. To meet our goal of reducing beverage calories in the American diet by 20 percent by 2025, America’s beverage companies are using our marketing muscle, product innovation, distribution strength and education to drive consumer behavior changes and help improve America’s health.

America achieved its goal of being the first nation to walk on the moon through ingenuity, hard work and determination. Similarly, America’s beverage industry is committed to leading the way toward meaningful and lasting solutions through collaboration and innovation.

To learn more about how America’s beverage companies are leading, visit http://deliveringchoices.org/.


Debunking False Claims on Low-Calorie Sweeteners

Just yesterday, we wrote about the positive impact low- and no-calorie sweeteners can have on weight management. The International Food Information Council (IFIC) is reiterating this fact-based information about these ingredients in the face of a recent “scientific” study claiming otherwise.

A study published in Cell Metabolism falsely claims that low- and no-calorie sweeteners may increase a person’s appetite. However, it is important to note that the study looked at flies and mice and was not a randomly controlled trial which is the gold standard for determining cause and effect and to make a direct link to humans.

Megan Meyer, PhD confirms, “There is a large body of evidence that clearly outlines that LCS are not associated with an increase in weight gain, but rather can be an effective tool in reducing calorie intake, resulting in weight loss.”

While questionable studies may make for catchy headlines, they mislead consumers about ingredients that have been deemed safe by regulatory agencies around the globe, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

To learn more about the science behind these low- and no-calorie sweeteners visit LetsClearItUp.org or check out IFIC’s factsheet on the topic.


The Facts About Low- and No-Calorie Sweeteners

Low- and no-calorie sweeteners found in many beverages contain few, if any, calories. This can help people reduce their calorie intakes and aid them in maintaining a healthy weight. They have also been proven safe for consumption time and again. Regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority, support the safety of low-calorie sweeteners used in thousands of foods and beverages.

A recent British study, and published in Nutrients, confirms previous research findings which have shown that replacing caloric beverages with low- and no-calorie beverages is associated with lower calorie and lower added sugar intake overall and can be a useful tool for weight management. Researchers concluded that the low- and no-calorie beverage consumers “do not compensate for sugar or energy deficits by consuming more sugary foods.”

Here in the United States, a study conducted by one of the beverage industry’s biggest critics found similar results.

Low- and no-calorie sweeteners are a safe and effective way to cut calories out of your diet. Have more questions about diet beverages and their ingredients? Visit LetsClearItUp.org and get the facts.

 


Business Owner Speaks Out on Impact of Taxes

Taxes on products like juices, teas and soft drinks can have a devastating effect on local businesses. We saw this illustrated in Mexico after the implementation of the peso-per-ounce tax – some 30,000 community stores closed their doors. Denmark ultimately repealed their tax due to the economic damage it caused.

Adam Vitale, President of G&M Distributors, located in Illinois, speaks to the fear he has for his own company and employees if a tax is implemented in Illinois. In a recent opinion piece he said, “I am truly concerned for our family of employees at G&M Distributors. Imposing a soft drink tax will further erode our business and most likely result in job losses.”

Vitale also notes that the impact of these taxes would ripple into the larger economy. “Increasing soda taxes would negatively impact restaurant and grocery store owners, eliminate jobs and investment in our community, and could further damage the already fragile economy in Illinois.”

Instead of pursuing a tax that could destroy local businesses and hurt jobs, policymakers should find ways to tighten their own belts.

To find out more about how taxes harm local businesses and consumers, check out The Truth About Beverage Taxes.