Is New York City about to see its last Big Gulp? That is the fear that Coca-Cola and other major soda companies have, and The New York Times reports that the corporations are taking to the streets to ensure that the ban doesn’t happen.
Mayor Bloomberg proposed a citywide ban on sugary drinks, like sodas, served in portions larger than 16 ounces. This would apply to all regulated eateries, including restaurants, movie theaters, and athletic stadiums. Coming after several years of official campaigning via print and video advertising, the anticipated ban urges people to remember that soda is linked to obesity.
What really has the beverage industry up in arms is that to pass, this ban would only need to go through the Bloomberg-approved Board of Health. They are also concerned because Bloomberg is not alone in his thinking: politicians in Massachusetts and New Jersey support research to study the link between sugary drinks and obesity, which could potentially lead to more laws like this one.
Beverage companies are so concerned that they have started new tactics, including soliciting signatures for a pro-soda petition, creating a Facebook page against the soda ban, and even creating a coalition called New Yorkers for Beverage Choice (NYBC). This group argues that the ban would not protect New Yorkers from illness, but it would simply take away all of their choices. Hoping to gain a strong following, the NYBC plans to show up at the ban’s public hearing later this month.
Although the NYBC is coming on hard, Bloomberg’s administration is not overly concerned about the backlash, saying that the obesity researchers will side with the mayor.
But will the people of N.Y.C.? This is a city of people with strong opinions and a fierce loyalty. Would Yankee Stadium be the same without a giant cup of Diet Coke? Public criticism could be so strong that the ban could be short-lived anyway. In the meantime, gulp while you can.
Grynbaum, M. (2012, July 1). Soda Makers Begin Their Push Against New York Ban. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/02/nyregion/in-fight-against-nyc-soda-ban-industry-focuses-on-personal-choice.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all