News Releases & Statements
Beverage Industry Responds to British Medical Journal Paper on Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes
In response to the analysis paper “Taxing unhealthy food and drinks to improve health” published in the British Medical Journal, the American Beverage Association issued the following statement:
“Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages will not reduce obesity, nor will it have a truly meaningful impact on obesity-related health conditions. There is a vast body of available science to support this. For instance, a review by George Mason University researchers showed that even a 20 percent tax on soda would reduce an obese person’s Body Mass Index from 40 to 39.98 – an amount not even measurable on a bathroom scale.
Singling out one set of products in such an overly simplistic manner only undermines efforts to combat this complex issue. Consumers do not support these taxes and recognize them for what they truly are – a money grab to raise revenue.”
Additional Background Information:
On Taxing Sugar-Sweetened Beverages:
- Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages will not reduce obesity, nor will it have a truly meaningful impact on obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, coronary disease or metabolic syndrome.
- Importantly, a wide range of factors contribute to these health conditions and singling out one ingredient – or one set of products - in such an overly simplistic manner only undermines efforts to combat these diseases.
- And, West Virginia and Arkansas are two states with an excise tax on soft drinks, yet both states rank among the 10 states with the highest obesity rates in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Industry’s Efforts to be Part of Meaningful Solutions:
- America’s beverage companies are delivering more choices, smaller portions, fewer calories and clearer labels across the country. By doing so, our companies are making a meaningful difference for families and individuals in our communities – making it easier to choose the drink that’s right for them.
- Clear Calorie Labels:
- America’s beverage companies are delivering on their Clear on Calories commitment to place clear calorie labels on the front of every bottle, can and pack they produce.
- We are placing total calories on the front of all bottles and cans up to and including 20 ounces so consumers know exactly how many calories are in the beverage before making a purchase. For packaging larger than 20 ounces, the labels provide calories per serving.
- The calorie labels put this information right at the fingertips of consumers so they can make a choice that’s right for them.
- The beverage industry announced the Clear on Calories initiative in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign.
- Beverages in Schools:
- We recognize that schools are unique places where parents want greater control over what their children eat and drink when they’re not around. That’s why we successfully implemented national School Beverage Guidelines.
- The guidelines removed full-calorie soft drinks from all schools and replaced them with more lower-calorie, smaller-portion options. Under the voluntary Guidelines, only juice, low-fat milk and water are allowed in elementary and middle schools, with the addition of lower-calorie and portion-controlled beverages in high schools.
- Through the guidelines, the signatory companies drove an 88 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools since 2004.
- More Choices:
- Through innovation, our companies have broadened their product portfolio, offering beverages in a wide variety of type, portion size and calories. These innovations are evident on store shelves and in vending machines throughout our communities.
- The broad choices in beverage type include soft drinks, ready-to-drink teas, water, sports drinks, flavored and enhanced waters, juices, energy drinks and more.
- The new choices include an ever-increasing selection of low- and no-calorie beverage choices, as well as mid-calorie beverages. The innovation pipeline continues as our companies remain engaged in developing even more beverage options to fit the ways people live.
- Smaller Portions:
- Delivering a range of portion sizes is another way to help individuals and parents choose beverages that are right for them and their families. Soft drinks and other beverages packaged for individuals are now available in portion sizes ranging from 20-ounce bottles to 7.5-ounce cans, with several options in between.
- Through its School Beverage Guidelines, the beverage industry voluntarily reduced juice portion sizes in K-12 schools and capped portion sizes on sports drinks, which are only offered in high schools, to 12 ounces. The range of portion sizes for beverages – including more smaller-portion options – provide for even more choice.
- Fewer Calories:
- Through innovation and initiative, America’s beverage companies are cutting calories in stores and in schools across the country.
- In the marketplace, the development of more low- and no-calorie beverages has helped drive a 23 percent reduction in the average calories per serving since 1998, according to Beverage Marketing Corporation, a leading analyst of industry sales data.
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The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States. For more information on ABA, please visit the association’s Web site at www.ameribev.org or call the ABA communications team at (202) 463-6770.