American Beverage Association

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Partnering With Mayors to Make a Difference

Today, at The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C., six mayors were selected to receive $445,000 in grants to support outstanding programs in their cities that encourage balanced diet choices and regular physical activity.

The winning cities are Las Vegas, Nev.; Columbia, S.C.; Waterloo, Iowa; Phoenix, Ariz.; Gresham, Ore.; and Huntington, W.Va.

“The health and welfare of our young people is always our Mayors’ top priority,” said Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and executive director.  “From improving walkability in neighborhoods to bringing nutrition and cooking curricula into schools, Mayors across the country are designing innovative strategies to make sure our kids understand how to eat healthy and stay active and fit.”

America’s beverage industry has a long history of being engaged in our communities because we know we can be a force for good in our states, cities, towns and neighborhoods. Our partnership with the USCM to support these awards through the Childhood Obesity Prevention Program is one more way we can help our communities be better places to live, work and grow. Funded by the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America, the program has awarded more than $1.8 million in grants to date.

We congratulate these mayors and their cities and wish them much success with their programs. Learn more about the winning mayors’ programs here.


Reality Check

Illinois lawmakers are considering a penny-per-ounce tax on every day beverages like juice drinks, soda, sports drinks and tea to fill the state’s budget deficit. The proposed beverage tax will be placed on products that already have a hefty 6.25 percent states sales tax, resulting in higher grocery bills for Illinois families. And in Cook County, where Chicago is located, residents who already pay a county tax and the state sales tax would be hit particularly hard by an additional tax.

“This is certainly taxes on top of taxes,” Claudia Rodriguez, acting executive director of the Illinois Beverage Association, told the Record. “With more than five existing state and local taxes, a new state penny-per-ounce tax would impose 68 cents in new taxes on a typical 99-cent two-liter bottle – a 68 percent tax rate. Then state and local sales taxes must be added.”

The reality is that these taxes are often passed onto consumers who can least afford it. This means the tax will hit people on fixed incomes like seniors and low income families particularly hard. For example, in Philadelphia a new 1.5 cent per ounce tax on beverages resulted in shoppers paying more than $3 in tax on a 12-pack of beverages that cost $5.99.

Politicians may think raising the price of a common grocery item is an easy fix to a budget gap, but they should first consider the harm they cause to low-income families, small businesses, jobs and incomes. To learn more about the negative consequences of beverage taxes, visit The Truth About Beverage Taxes.


Lining Government Coffers

To shore up the budget, Illinois policymakers are considering placing a penny-per-ounce tax on common grocery store items like juice drinks, soda, sports drinks and tea.

A recent editorial from The Jacksonville Journal-Courier urges policymakers to tell the truth about the proposed tax – it’s not about health, it’s all about raising revenue. But discriminatory taxes hurt hardworking families and local businesses. The consequences of such a tax would lead to “lost jobs coming from the likely decline in sales when consumers have to pay an additional 70 cents for a two-liter bottle or $1.44 for a 12 pack of drinks. Those lost jobs will trickle down to decreased revenue for everyone along the chain, from producers to convenience store workers.”

Not only can these taxes have devastating economic consequences, they are wildly unpopular. Citing a Harris Interactive/Healthday poll, the editorial board notes that 57 percent of individuals oppose taxes on soda and “a majority also disagreed with the idea such taxes would have any impact on obesity rates.”

“Taxes can’t enforce the need for self-moderation, no matter how much the government would like to say it has people’s best interests at heart.” Read the editorial in full here.


Helping Support Your Goals

 

We are almost two weeks into 2017, which means that people might already be struggling with their New Year’s resolutions. Lofty goals such as losing weight can be difficult to maintain and that’s why beverage companies are doing things to help you achieve your aims.

Did you know that low- and no-calorie sweeteners and beverages can help with weight loss and weight maintenance? America’s beverage companies are offering consumers more low- and no-calorie options than ever before. The low-calorie sweeteners that these drinks contain are perfectly safe according to the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). And they are a great way to reduce your calories from sugar.

On top of this, we have made it easy to count calories by placing clear calorie labels on the front of every bottle and can we sell. Having the information at your fingertips allows you to easily make the beverage decision that works for you.

Learn more about how America’s beverage companies are supporting your efforts by going to deliveringchoices.org.


New Hampshire Union Leader Takes Aim at Soda Taxes

Philadelphia isn’t the only place the unpopularity of the city’s new tax on more than 1,000 beverages is a hot topic. The consumer backlash to the tax is receiving attention nationwide, including by the New Hampshire Union Leader which said in an editorial, “Using the tax code to micromanage consumer behavior is just wrong.”

The Union Leader has also taken notice of the magnitude of the tax. “Well, that tax works out to almost $2 per gallon, and in many cases is being directly passed on to consumers,” wrote the editorial board. “That could double the price of a two-liter bottle.”

The paper recognizes that these are not taxes people want but rather taxes being pushed upon them by outsiders, some with deep pockets, who claim they know what’s best for everyone else. According to the editorial board, “[Michael] Bloomberg spent $18 million last year in support of soda taxes in Oakland and San Francisco. He spent $1.6 million to push the new Philadelphia soda taxes.”

Rather than improving the lives of residents, these taxes squeeze middle class families already on tight budgets. They also make it harder for local businesses to stay afloat as consumers take their grocery shopping elsewhere.

The evidence is clear – taxes don’t make people healthier, just poorer. What does work is government, industry and public health working together on solutions that will bring about true, lasting change. America’s beverage companies are committed to being a part of the solution by driving a reduction in sugar and calories people get from beverages. We are providing the new beverage options, information and encouragement to help people cut back on calories and sugar and we are doing it in places with some of the highest rates of obesity in the nation like the Mississippi Delta and rural Alabama. This is the hard work necessary to change behavior and make a difference in communities across the nation.


Clemson Comes Out on Top

Last night, the college football season wrapped up with a game that came down to the wire between the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide.

Congratulations to the Clemson Tigers for winning the championship, which alluded them last year, on a game winning drive to put the cherry on top of a magical season for their first championship since 1981!


Philly’s Rude Awakening

A little over a week has passed since Philadelphia’s new 1.5 cent per ounce tax on beverages took effect and consumers and storeowners are feeling the burden of the discriminatory and regressive tax.

According to an article on FOX News, the tax not only covers beverages with sugar but also low-calorie beverages, juice and even milk substitutes for lactose-intolerant people.

“The magnitude of this tax is historic and Philadelphian consumers can’t afford it,” David McCorkle, CEO of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association told FOX News.

Some posts on twitter already suggest that Philadelphians are going outside the city limits to do their shopping. This shopping shift could be detrimental to the small storeowners who are already operating on thin margins.

“If Philadelphians shop outside the city, sales decline, not only in the beverage category, but in all categories,” stated McCorkle. “I think the city needs to take a hard look at the potential impact, and we suspect that if store revenue declines, cuts have to be made somewhere.”

The evidence is clear – food and beverage taxes have been tried and they have failed to improve public health or reduce obesity. And in the end, these taxes harm consumers and businesses who can least afford them.


How to Make Your Own Snowy Treat

There’s snow outside our office here at Sip & Savor, which made us think of one of our favorite chilly treats – slushies.

The Maryland Science Center has a great how-to on making your own snowy slushy. The science behind making the slushy is supercooling the soda. The guide says “[a] supercool liquid is cold enough to want to freeze, but needs a trigger to actually turn into a solid. The trigger in this experiment is the frost on the metal bowl. When you pour the liquid into the bowl, the frost acts as a nucleation site – a place for the ice crystals in the soda to state forming.”

Click here to read how to make your own snowy treat, plus the science that makes it happen!


Sticker Shock in the City of Brotherly Love

The city of Philadelphia ushered in 2017 with a big tax on more than 1,000 beverages and residents aren’t happy about it. As Reason.com reports, Philadelphians doing their grocery shopping on Jan. 1 faced unwelcome price hikes on their favorite drinks due to the city’s new 1.5 cent per ounce tax on beverages.

Philadelphians have taken to social media to express their outrage, posting photos of receipts showing the soaring prices. Reason.com highlighted one such example in which a shopper paid more than $3 in tax on a 12-pack of beverages that cost $5.99.

According to Reason.com, local businesses are worried the higher prices caused by the tax hike will drive people to do their shopping outside the city. “Small businesses interviewed by Reason in October expressed similar concerns, since the tax is applied not only to cans and bottles of soda, but to soda fountains (like the ones found in many pizza places and cheesesteak joints across Philadelphia) too,” reported Reason.com. “Already, those predictions seem to be coming true, at least anecdotally.”

The fact of the matter is when government raises taxes, they are always passed onto consumers in some form. And the people of Philadelphia are seeing this basic economic principle play out first hand. Unfortunately, it is the families who can least afford it who end up taking the hardest hit from these regressive and unfair taxes.


Taxes on Beverages Aren’t as Sweet as they Sound

As the number of cities and states across the country facing economic challenges continues to grow, some legislators are leaning on the false hope of a tax on beverages as a means to solve these issues.

However, whether these taxes are proposed in order to fill a budget gap or to pay for new programs, the fact remains that such taxes are unstable sources of income that end up hurting those that live and work in these communities.

The reality is that these taxes are passed onto consumers, often those that can least afford it. Look no further than the recent impact that Philadelphians are feeling in the first week the tax has been in effect. These increased prices could end up driving consumers to purchase beverages outside the city and therefore result in less revenue than the city anticipated.

Ultimately these taxes aren’t fair to the consumers who pay them and the people who are sold the false promise that these taxes could solve a city or state’s economic hardship.