New research shows providing individuals with more access to foods and beverages that support their goals for a balanced lifestyle is more effective than regressive taxes on beverages. Taxes on beverages like soda, juice, sports drinks and teas just don’t lead to the health outcomes proponents claim.
Take the beverage tax in Mexico; the tax led to a miniscule per person reduction in calories of 6 calories per day, an amount not measurable on a bathroom scale. Even the editorial board of USA Today came out against these taxes, stating “[s]oda taxes are heavy on intrusion and light on impact…Most important, soda taxes haven’t been shown to work.”
Not only do they not make an impact on waistlines, they hit the wallets of working families and small businesses. Families see their grocery bills rise and local businesses running on tight margins find they must cut jobs to keep the doors open.
Instead of advocating for taxes 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. That’s why America’s leading beverage companies are doing their part through the Balance Calories Initiative. We are increasing access to beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all and smaller proportions—in stores and restaurants down the street and across the country. We’re also putting our collective marketing expertise behind these efforts to make finding balance a little easier.
For more information about Balance Calories, visit our new website BalanceUS.org.