Sugary drink sales fall 38% after Philadelphia levied soda tax: study

A sweetened beverage tax sign is posted by sweetened drinks at a grocery retailer inside the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

Sugary drink sales dropped 38% in Philadelphia after the city started taxing soda and completely different sweet drinks in 2017, in response to a study printed Tuesday inside the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Philadelphia levied a tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on sweetened drinks beginning Jan. 1, 2017, following Berkeley, California, as a result of the second metropolis inside the nation to implement the levy.

Supporters argue soda taxes can discourage people from indulging in sugary drinks, in all probability serving to curb weight issues, diabetes and completely different diet-related conditions. Critics say governments should not dictate what people drink, and elevating the price in a single metropolis will merely set off people to purchase elsewhere. Beverage sales inside Philadelphia’s metropolis limits dropped by 51% nonetheless had been partially offset by an increase in sales merely open air the city, resulting in a web decrease in soda sales of 38% inside the area, researchers on the University of Pennsylvania found.

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To measure how Philadelphia’s tax affected sales of sugary drinks, researchers analyzed scanner data from market evaluation company IRI in the midst of the yr sooner than the tax took impression and the yr after. They analyzed sales in Philadelphia, neighboring communities and Baltimore, which served as a administration group. They did not study people’s exact consumption habits or properly being outcomes.

“When we think about what it’s really going to take to reduce chronic disease in this country, including diabetes, obesity and overweight, we need massive interventions and the evidence is really strong this is one that works,” said Dr. Kristine Madsen, faculty director of the Berkeley Food Institute on the University of California Berkeley, who was not involved with the study nonetheless wrote an accompanying editorial.

Researchers tracked sales in 291 chain drugstores, grocery retailers and mass merchandise retailers. The outcomes do not embrace unbiased retailers. The researchers analyzed sales in these retailers for a separate study, which is beneath analysis and has not however been printed.

Bloomberg Philanthropies, backed by billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, funded the study. Bloomberg unsuccessfully tried to impose a partial ban on mushy drinks whereas mayor and has personally has poured 1000’s and 1000’s into lobbying for soda taxes.

Christina Roberto, assistant professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy inside the Perelman School of Medicine on the University of Pennsylvania and lead author, said the scientists are “independent” and the group had “no role” inside the study.

“It is such a big and obvious effect, it’s hard to spin this,” said Roberto. “The data are so clear and obvious.”

William Dermody, spokesman for the American Beverage Association, said in a press launch: “It is clear from this study and others that beverage taxes hurt working families, small local businesses and their employees.”

“Many Philadelphians avoid the tax by shopping for beverages outside the city,” he said, pointing to a study printed late ultimate yr exhibiting sales decreases in a soda tax metropolis had been offset by people purchasing for sugary drinks open air the city.

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